Saravana Bhavan Style Rava Kesari
This dessert called Kesari made with Semolina (Bombay Rava), Ghee and Sugar is a ubiquitous part of the menu during almost every auspicious occasion among Indian households! The Rava Kesari prepared by the Chennai chain of Saravana Bhavan is very special indeed. It is truly unique. Eaten hot or cold, it has a melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness. I always make it a point to eat the Saravana Bhavan Rava Kesari whenever I go to Chennai!!
Rava Kesari is called by different names in different parts of India. The Telugus and Tamils like to call it Rava Kesari. The Kannada people refer to it as Kesari Bath. In the North of India it is called Sheera or Rava Sheera. Whatever its name, the method of preparation of Rava Kesari is almost the same everywhere. There may be slight variation in measures etc., but it is that very small variation that gives a special touch to the preparation.
In some preparations Rava is boiled in Milk. In the Saravana Bhavan preparation Rava is cooked and sugar is added directly without any milk. In this way there may be minor variations in the method of preparation of Rava Kesari from place to place.
Do look at the ‘Tips’ below before you go ahead with trying the recipe. I assure you that the final product will be equally tasty whatever options you select from the tips given.
Rava: I have used fine Semolina. You may use fine wheat Rava if so like.
Now-a-days many types of Millet Rava is available and very much sought after. If you wish to use one of those, just remember that Millet Rava requires water four times the measure of water. That is, you should take 4 cups of water for 1 cup of Rava. Also, the Millet Rava turns out well when cooked slowly.
I have made Rava Kesari with Sugar. You may like to make it with Jaggery. Use the same measure of jiggery as for sugar. It is best however to add a little water to make Jaggery syrup and strain it before using. This will help to remove any sand particles from Jaggery.
Rava Kesari made with Jaggery has a different taste than that made with Sugar.
The saravana bhavan recipe requires ghee in equal measure to the Rava. I have used ghee in 1cup to ¾ cup ratio. You may add Rava and Ghee in equal measures if you like to.
Only hot water should be added to the roasted Rava. When it is thus cooked the Rava comes out soft and maintains its granular quality without becoming pasty.
South Indians like to add a little raw camphor and offer as Prasadam. In the North Rava Kesari or Sheera is made to be eaten during fasts. It doesn't matter whether you add Camphor or not, cardamom powder is enough.
I have added a little yellow food colour to make the dish look attractive. If you have some Saffron you may use that too. The dish is perfect without any colour too.
Saravana Bhavan Style Rava Kesari - Recipe Video
Saravana Bhavan Style Rava Kesari
- Prep Time 1 min
- Cook Time 25 mins
- Total Time 26 mins
- Servings 6
- 1 cup Semolina (Bombay Rava)
- 1.5 cup Sugar
- 3/4 cup Ghee (or 1 cup)
- 3 cups Hot Water
- 15 Cashew Nuts
- 15 Raisins
- 1/4 tsp Cardamom Powder
- Put half the Ghee in a Kadhai and roast Semolina, Cashew nuts and Raisins together on a low flame till a light golden colour. It may take approximately 15 minutes for the Semolina to roast well.
- Add boiling hot water to the roasted Semolina and cook till water gets absorbed.
Add Sugar after Semolina gets soft, and mix well. Let cook until mixture gets smooth and close.
- Add Cardamom powder, yellow food colour and the rest of the Ghee. Cook on medium flame.
- Take it down from the stove once the Ghee floats well on to the top. (For alternate methods and ideas, look at the ‘Tips’).