Apple, Cinnamon and Semolina Halwa
Sheera or Halwa is a traditional Indian dessert prepared especially during festivals as an offering to the deity. This Semolina based sweet dish is also relished as breakfast by many. It’s easy to make, takes less than 30 minutes and tastes divine.
Traditionally Halwa has sugar, ghee, nuts and semolina with a cardamom flavour. The apple cinnamon version is a simple variation of the traditional dish. If you love the classic combination of apples and cinnamon, this recipe is a must try. When served warm with a scoop of Vanilla ice-cream, the apple, cinnamon and semolina halwa transforms into a delectable and sophisticated dessert.
- Semolina (Sooji or Rava) – 1 cup
- Brown sugar – 1/2 cup
- White cane sugar – 1/2 cup
- Apple – 1 (peeled and diced into small pieces)
- Water – 2 1/2 cups
- Ghee (clarified butter) – 3 to 4 tablespoon
- Cashewnuts – 2 tablespoon
- Raisins – 1 tablespoon
- Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
- Pistachios – for garnish
Begin by dry roasting the semolina. While roasting, keep the flame low and stir the semolina continuously as it can get burnt very quickly. Roast until Semolina appears slightly golden, and starts releasing a delicious aroma. Set this aside. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Make sure the Semolina doesn’t get burnt or turn dark brown while roasting.
Add 1 tablespoon ghee into a non-stick pan and cook the apples with brown sugar for 3-4 minutes. The brown sugar gives this halwa the rich colour and flavor. This is however optional, you can replace with white sugar entirely. Once the diced apple pieces appear soft and partially cooked, add the cinnamon powder, white sugar and water. Give it a good stir and leave it to boil. When the water is just beginning to boil, reduce the flame and add the roasted semolina stirring continuously. Semolina can get lumpy at the stage, so it’s important to keep stirring as you incorporate the semolina into the water. Mix it up well and make sure there aren’t any lumps. Semolina starts absorbing water very quickly, so don’t spend too much time in stirring and mixing or else the mixture may get too dry. It should have a smooth, porridge like consistency after adding the semolina. Now cover with a lid and let it cook on steam (low flame for 3-5 minutes) until the semolina appears light and fluffy.
While the semolina is steaming up, take another small pan; add the remaining ghee and fry raisins and cashews. Once the nuts turn golden brown, add them along with ghee into the pan with apples and semolina. Mix and transfer it into a serving dish. Garnish with chopped pistachios. We recommend serving warm.