We have a tradition of making Sheera/Sooji/Semolina Halwa as prasad for all and any puja that we perform at home. There is a special way of making sooji halwa sheera for Satyanarayan katha puja, which is taking all main ingredients of sooji halwa i.e. ghee, sooji or semolina, and milk in equal quantities. This was in olden days and even my Mom’s age where they never tried to steer from their age old traditions. There was the “nehmicha” ( means like always) way of making things at home, and ladies who did steer away from the traditional cooking and tried to be adventurous in the recipes by tweaking and twisting ingredients, were labelled “Sugran”( meaning talented chef). They automatically got the authority to boss the others around their whims and fancies…most of the household had such sugrans bossing around newlywed brides, giving them a hard time with their cooking talents.
I am in no way sugran or talented chef, but I am a player who likes to play around with food, as a kid, I played with the food cooked by my mom.. I loved making art from the dal/rice or varan bhat, we used to make roads, mountains and even animals shaped balls from that varan bhat, and my mom never did really object much about that, as long as we finished what was on our plate. I have said before that, as a working mom she chose food battles last on her list, her logic was as long as kid seat, it should be ok…not so much my logic.. does that make me an impatient mom, she says Yes.. reason according to her is that we are way too much internet savvy, we read and get affected..another reason is Face Book, where in we make friends with Moms of similar age kids, and the issues begin….we want our kids to be the BEST and attempts of making a fish climb a tree begin…which is not possible, but then again Impossible is I M Possible…so we go….unfulfilled dreams/ wishes are dumped on poor kids and we start using them as paths to our success.
Enough of my rants, coming back to my sooji halwa, I have days when I have only one gallon milk and some sweets require much more than my estimated requirement. Although sheera/sooji halwa does not require the whole lot of milk; I was in no mood to step out to get milk on this particular day. ….and also that less milk at home made a good excuse to make this sheera for my family loves to stick to “Nehmicha” sheera. After my tricks of hiding veggies in all sorts of things , like the Zucchinni Choc Cake, I cannot blame them.
But this pineapple sheera took the cake away and they unanimously decided that this is the prasad they want after all the pujas we have in future, this was so good.
You will need;
1- 14 oz can of crushed pineapple with the juice
1 and 1/2 cup of sooji/ semolina/ cream of wheat
6-8 tbspns Ghee-Clarified butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Elaichi or Cardamom Powder
1 tbspn Cashew nuts-Optional
1tbspn Raisins Optional
few Saffron strands-Optional
-In a pan/wok, heat the ghee over medium or low flame and then add the sooji, roast the sooji stirring continuously, till the sooji changes colour and the aroma fills the house, then add the crushed pineapple and continue stirring…the sooji will be slightly wet, cover for 2-3 minutes, taking care that the sooji is not getting burnt, if needed reduce the time to about 1.5 to 2 minutes. After this add in the sugar and stir well, the mixture will be wet now, cover and lower the flame to low and cook for 5-7 minutes. Then add the saffron, elaichi and the raisins. Serve hot or cold. It’s yummy either way.
**Some people fry the raisins and cashews in ghee and then add it at the last stage after sugar is added. If I am adding the nuts or raisins I add it with the sooji and then continue cooking it with the sooji and proceed with the recipe.