Rava Kesari (Semolina Pudding)

By DK on Jan 04, 2011
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
One of the most basic and loved sweets in the whole of India - Semolina Pudding. The North Indians refer to it as Sooji or Suji Halwa while the South Indians know it as Rava Kesari or simply Kesari. As I mentioned, it is one of the simplest sweets to make among the myriad (and complicated!) Indian sweets. Gets done in a jiffy, involves minimal ingredients and the effort is minimal. For all the "minimum" so and so, the taste is par excellence. It is one of our favorites and is among the rare sweets we like. The amount of sugar can be adjusted to your liking and that makes it easier for us to use as little as possible.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
Its a very forgiving recipe and is hard to mess up. However a little care (see tip in the middle of the step) can make it extra delicious. Its also versatile - in the sense that different flavor essence can be added to give a special twist - so its like eating a different sweet every time. I find in many restaurants that Pineapple flavoring seems to be popular.We personally like it plain with just the hint of saffron. I LOVE adding lots of roasted cashews. Something about that delicious nutty crunch along with soft semolina seems to strike the right balance in my palate. This recipe comes specially for prasanthi, a 14 year old sweetheart who wants to surprise her mom. (Bless her! I was too busy eating at her age to bother learning cooking! Hugs). Starting out the year 2011 on a sweet note.

mom's recipe

Basic Information
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 4 people
Yield: Depending on portions, this can serve 2-4 people
  • 1/2 cup Semolina (Rava, sooji)
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup Sugar, see Tips
  • 1-2 tbsp broken cashews
  • 2-3 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • pinch of saffron
  • few drops of food coloring (optional)
  • few drops of flavor essence like pineapple, mango, rose etc (optional)
  • Pinch of salt (optional) - see Tips
1. Sugar: The amount of sugar will depend on your taste. If you like it mild, start with 1/2 cup sugar.
2. Salt: My personal experience dictates that adding a wee little salt brings amount a profound balance in flavors than without. But my mother never added the salt. So its upto you. Make sure its just a little bit - a pinch.
In a skillet heat the ghee. Roast the cashews until brown.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
Remove the cashews and set aside.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
In the same pan, roast the semolina for 2-3 mins in low flame. It will start being aromatic. The purpose for doing this slow roasting is dual. One for avoiding lumps while adding water later and also to get rid of the rawness of the semolina. Alternatively bring the water to a boil.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
Now slowly add the water to the semolina,
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
making sure to keep stirring the pan
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
so that the semolina does not form into lumps.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
The semolina should be completely cooked and you can find it out by touching it. It will be  soft, will not stick to the sides and will come together as one mass.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
At this point add the sugar. Make sure to add sugar only after the semolina is well cooked.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
Sprinkle it over evenly on the surface.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
Keep stirring while the sugar melts.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
and comes together into a thick pudding like consistency.
Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding

At this point add the saffron, cashews and food coloring if using (I added 1 drop of food coloring this time. I usually don't.) You can also dissolve the saffron in few drops of hot milk and add it.


For different tastes/variety you can add few drops of essence at this stage like pineapple, mango, rose, vanilla etc.

Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
Remove from pan and Serve it hot garnished with cashews if desired. Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding And then...what else..DIG IN! :) Rava Kesari Recipe, Sooji (Suji) Halwa, Semolina Pudding
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Did you make this recipe?Please click below to share your experiences while you were making this recipe. Thanks for your input!
54 Responses to “Rava Kesari (Semolina Pudding)”
  1. Govind Upadhyay

    I Made It. Its good Manner to cook Semolina Pudding. Many people Praised me after eating this.

  2. My mom favourite! She always made it during winters.

  3. Dan

    Beautiful recipe, thank you. I used used 1/2 cup sugar total – 1/3 cup jaggery and the rest white sugar. It has a nice rich flavor from that.

  4. Ranjit

    Love Suji halwa. Mum always made it with milk, so that’s how I make it as well. It tastes so much better than when made with water. I also add raisins and pecan nuts. Mmmm!

  5. Jayalakshmi Sivakumar

    Hi… I Want 10people quandity :?: :wink:

  6. janani

    hi, yummy recipe… if i wanted to add pineapple to the kesari, at what stage shld i add it… :?:

  7. pooja

    hi……i tried dis recipe of urs…..i must say its awesum…..nd all ur recipes r just too good…..thnx

  8. Andrea

    Must tried the recipe, and really enjoyed it. But I was wondering, your recipe says calls for cardamon powder, but which part of the cooking process should the ingredient be included? Thank you.

  9. TR

    I made this recipe last night and it was just amazing! Thank you so much for this great recipe!

  10. Angel

    believe it or not, this is awesome
    however, i use milk instead of water
    should it make a difference?

  11. Bala

    Thanks for the recipe. I made this today. It came out very good.

  12. grc

    is the semolina pudding same as semolina cereal or not? can you help me, what is “hot semolina” exactly? thankie.

  13. mizarwen

    So u roast it without Ghee but when is the time u put Ghee inside? Is it before sugar or at the same time with water?

    No, we do roast it in Ghee. The first step mentions adding all the ghee and roasting the cashews in it. Once roasted, you just remove the cashews and roast the semolina in the same pan with the remaining ghee. –DK

  14. y.thara

    super sweet …..muuuuuu :lol:

  15. lakshmi

    hi…..Gr8 recipe i make this quite often…..i have one query what is the difference between southindian kesari i.e which u made it and sheera. Thanks.

    Pls do refer this Lakshmi : What is the difference between Sheera and Kesari –DK

  16. metsi

    I have made rava kesari a lot of times & my husband never liked it. I wanted to make a perfect one & i followed ur instructions. It came out so perfect & i was so happy. My husband liked it a lot. Thank u so much for the yummy kesari

  17. Bov

    Great recipe, and seems pretty easy. Are you sure that serves two? Half a cup of sugar per person seems like A LOT!

    Yes, it sure is. This is not under a “low calorie or Health Foods” list by any means! But you can def. reduce the amount of sugar if you don’t prefer this much. I usually customize it for my family who don’t prefer too much sweet while I make the traditional way for many others who prefer it sweeter. Indians have sweet tooth, I must add :) –DK

  18. Hi, just followed your recipe and made a delicious kesari. Veganised it by using organic coconut oil instead of ghee but it is still very yummy! Thanks for the recipe and photos :)

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