Think of the word “Sweets” and my mind flashes to the variety of Indian sweets that have been adapted and modified and borne out of the so many different cuisines and regions in India…Since Sugarcane has been growing in India for thousands of years, the art of refining sugar was invented there. From its simplest most unrefined form, to the pure refined crystallised forms available in branded packets, we have come a long long way. No other country has the multitude of sweets like the way India does. Milk based sweets like Gulab Jamun, Rosgullas, to the ones made with all purpose flour, made with khoya, with urad flour, condensed milk, besan, milk powder, coconut, the list is simply endless.
My personal favourite has been the most easiest of them all – Rava Kesari. My all time favourite has been the Pineapple Kesari served at weddings and at Sangeetha Restaurants. This one is a variant of the rava kesari and is also served at south indian tamil weddings. Fruit Kesari has a distinctive flavour as it does not have edible camphor or the cardamom powder. The aroma of the fruits in it, itself endears to the flavour of this sweet. This is a version by Revathy Shanmugham, which I had seen in a TV show long ago and noted it handwritten in my little recipe diary. This month for the Shh Cooking Challenge, my secret ingredients given by Priya Suresh, was a fruit and a nut. My secret ingredients were Green Grapes and cashew nuts. Try it and you will love its simple yet robust flavours.
1 Cup Rava Fine.
2 Cups Sugar.
2 1/2 Cups Water.
1/3 Cup Finely chopped pineapple.
1/3 Cup Finely chopped apples.
1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Grapes (Green).
3 Tbsp Oil.
2-3 Tbsp Ghee.
A pinch of salt.
1 Tsp Pineapple Essence.
8-10 Cashew Pieces.
10 Raisins/ Sultanas.
- Chop the pineapple, apple and green grapes in to really small pieces and place them in three cups. Add a tbsp of sugar on to each of the cups and mix it in. This will coat the fruits with sweet and also remove the undesirable tartness in certain fruits. Keep it that way for about 30 minutes.
- Take a wide mouth heavy kadai and add the oil and a tbsp of ghee. Fry the raisins and cashews until the raisins get plump and the cashews fry to a golden colour. Drain out the excess oil and remove the raisins and cashews.
- In the same kadai, add the 1 cup of rava and roast on a medium low flame for a couple minutes until the raw smell is gone. Remove from kadai.
- Add the 2 1/2 cups water to the kadai and allow to boil.
- When it comes to a rolling boil, slowly tip in the roasta rava and stir it with a whisk/ladle on a medium low flame until the rava gets all mixed in.
- The rava absorbs the water and rapidly cooks to resemble upma. At this point, add the measured 2 cups of sugar.
- As the sugar melts, the rava gets watery and slightly lumpy. Keep stirring and dissolving the little lumps until the mixture gets smooth.
- Add the chopped fruits – pineapple, apple, and green grapes to the mix, pineapple essence, any food colouring if needed and a small pinch of salt.
- Add a spoon of ghee now and then and keep stirring until the kesari reaches the desired consistency.
- Garnish with fried cashew nuts and raisins and serve Hot!