A sure shot recipe to the perfectly roasted North Indian Sooji Halwa.
- 3 to 4 tbsp Ghee/ Clarified Butter (plus 1-2 tbsp more if needed)
- 1 cup Sooji/ Suji/ Semolina
- 2 tbsp Besan /Gram flour/ chickpea flour
- 1 tbsp Aata / whole wheat flour
- A Handful of Nuts like almonds, cashews/ Kaju Badam chopped or whole depending on your preference
- 8 to 10 Raisins/ Kishmish rinsed and soaked for 10 mins, (optional)
- 2 Cardamom pods crushed
- 4 cup Water
- 3/4 to 1 cup Granulated Sugar use a whole cup if you like the halwa to be sweet, less if you prefer otherwise
Prep dry and wet ingredients
Measure a cup of sooji and place in a big bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of besan (gram flour) and a tablespoon of aata (whole wheat flour).
In another bowl, add a cup of granulated sugar. You can use less sugar if you don’t want the halwa to be very sweet. I usually use 3/4th of a cup. Add 4 cups of room temperature water to the sugar. Mix in the sugar to dissolve it in the water. It need not be fully dissolved but stir for as long as you can. Pound the cardamom pods roughly in a mortar and pestle and put in the water.
Wash the raisins and add to the sugary water. Chop the nuts and keep aside.
Roasting the flours
Place a heavy bottomed kadhai on a medium-low heat. Put the ghee in the wok and wait for it to melt.
Once melted, add the flour mix in the Kadhai (Indian wok) and stir well so the ghee is soaked in. If the mix looks too powdery or crumbly, add a little more ghee, maybe half a tablespoon at a time. The flour ghee mix should be like almost like a paste.
Start stirring the mix around the Kadhai and do not leave it unattended. Soon you will be able to take in the aroma of the roasted flour. Do not change the level of heat on your stove. The colour of the flour will change slowly to a light golden. Roasting will at least take 12-15 minutes.
Keep stirring the mix and be careful to not let it burn. This is the most crucial step and requires patience. When the flour is golden add the chopped nuts and stir well. Cook the nuts in the mix for not more than 2 minutes now.
Add the Sugar syrup
Pour the sugary water into the kadhai in a steady stream with one hand while gently stirring the flour mix in the kadhai with the other. It’ll be hot so be careful of the steam and splashes. Stirring helps to prevent lumps in the halwa.
You’ll find a watery mix where sooji particles are settling down if not stirred. The stirring can be in intervals now but you can still not leave this unattended.
Wait for the halwa to come to a roaring boil. It will start bubbling soon (be careful!) and the there will be a white frothy layer soon because of the sugar has started cooking.
Keep stirring the boiling halwa till it becomes thicker. Once you are happy with the consistency shut the heat and let it cool a bit before serving. If you cannot wait for it to cool down, serve it in a small plates. It cools faster that way.
Serve this Sooji Halwa with a side of sookhe chane and freshly made pooris to make the meal complete!
- Keep stirring the flours in ghee during the roasting process so that it cooks evenly and does not burn. Do not leave the ghee-flour mix unattended at this stage.
- A good halwa requires a generous helping of ghee. A sooji halwa with less ghee would just be lumpy and dry instead of creamy. The ghee in the halwa also helps from getting spoilt easily. So don't skimp on the ghee.