Cornmeal and Apple sauce Kesari – food fit for the Gods!
Kesari is a sweet dish made of semolina/cream of wheat and in different parts of India it is named Sojji, Sheera, Sooji ka halwa or Semolina pudding. It is a regular sweet dish at home and I have also tried a variation by adding crushed pineapple to it. Kesari which is made of sooji/rava gets an orange color by the addition of saffron or food color. The uncolored variety in Northern parts of India is called Sheera. It is usually served in Hindu temples as a Prasad to the devotees after offering it to the Gods and it tastes divinely delicious.
When I lived in Kenya in a small town called Eldoret, sooji/rava was not easily available as Indian grocery shops were few. I had to adapt to the available cornmeal/coarse maize flour to replicate Kesari in a new flavor and color. As cornmeal is bland I tried adding fruit pulps to improve the quality.
I made this Kesari recently, with cornmeal and unsweetened apple sauce. No food colour is added as the yellow cornmeal imparts its unique color.
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1/3 cup ghee/clarified butter
- 1 pinch cinnamon powder
- 2 drops of vanilla essence
- few cashew nuts
- Heat a frying pan, add ghee and fry the cashew nuts.
- Remove the nuts when they are brown and fry yellow cornmeal in it until it is roasted and a nice smell emerges.
- Empty this into a container.
- To the same pan add 2 cups of water and boil.
- When water boils add 1 cup sugar and dissolve it.
- Now add apple sauce, cinnamon and vanilla essence.
- Then add the roasted corn meal to the boiling mixture little by little to prevent the formation of lumps.
- Allow it to cook, stirring continuously until it absorbs all the water. (Be careful as the boiling mixture will splash all over).
- Transfer the Kesari to a plate and cut into desired shapes and stick the cashew bits on it. ( I used an ice cream scoop and stuck a cashew nut on each.)