The daughter is big on naturally coloured foods at the moment. She is thrilled if I present her with a green soup or orange idlis or a pink roti or a blue payasam. That’s how this idea of Strawberry Kesari Bath came about. I had a box of strawberries lying in our refrigerator, and I thought of using them to create this pretty pink dessert for her. And, yes, she loved it! 🙂
A closer look at Strawberry Kesari Bath
Kesari Bath aka Rava Kesari is a popular sweet dish in South India, made using rava i.e. sooji or semolina. Redolent with ghee, it is a common feature on the menu in several Bangalore restaurants and at weddings as well. Pineapple Kesari is a variation of this sweet dish, equally popular in Bangalore.
I made this Strawberry Kesari on the same lines as the Pineapple Kesari, substituting one fruit for the other. Strawberries are in season now, and you get really lovely sweet ones, which are just perfect for this kesari. They lend a lovely natural pink colour to the dish too. Quite apt for this time of the year, considering it is the ‘month of love’ and all that! The Strawberry Kesari tastes absolutely delicious, too.
‘Warm Desserts’ theme at Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge
I’m sharing this recipe for Strawberry Kesari Bath with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I’m part of.
The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of enthusiastic food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The members are paired together every month, and each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest of the group. Each pair then uses these two ingredients to cook a dish that fits the theme of the month. The other group members then try to guess what the two secret ingredients could have been. Interesting, right?
So, this month, our hostess for the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is Rafeeda, the author of The Big Sweet Tooth. True to her blog’s name, Rafeeda is a huge dessert lover. You will find several interesting sweet dishes on her blog, such as this Lotus Milk Cake and this Lime Olive Oil Cake. She suggested that we all prepare some warm desserts this month, desserts that are best had straight off the gas (or oven).
My partner for the month was Anu of Ente Thattukada. She gave me two simple ingredients – raisins and sugar – and I decided to incorporate them into this Strawberry Kesari Bath. I’ve always loved kesari piping hot, so I didn’t have to think much when it came to the theme. 🙂
I suggested that Anu use jaggery and rice to make her dish, and she prepared this beautiful Sweet Pongal. Do check out her recipe!
How to make Strawberry Kesari Bath
Here is how I made it. This is a simple dish to make, requiring just a few minutes to put together.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 3/4 cup fine rava (sooji or semolina)
- 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons of ghee
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 10-12 cashewnuts
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 big strawberries, 1 heaped cup when chopped
1. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons ghee, then add in the rava. Roast the rava on medium flame for about 2 minutes, till it starts giving out a lovely aroma and becomes the consistency of wet sand. Ensure that the rava does not burn.
2. Immediately transfer the roasted rava to a plate. Keep this aside.
3. Remove the tops from the strawberries and grind to a coarse puree, in a mixer. Keep this aside.
4. Chop the cashewnuts roughly. Keep ready.
5. Take the water in the same pan and place it on high flame. Allow it to come to a rolling boil.
6. At this stage, turn the heat down to medium. Stirring constantly, add the roasted rava to the pan little by little.
7. Now add the sugar to the pan, as well as the strawberry puree. Continue to keep the flame at medium. Mix well.
8. Cook everything together on medium heat for 2 minutes or so, or till the mixture starts to thicken. Stir intermittently.
9. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee in another small pan. Add in the chopped cashewnuts and raisins, and reduce flame to low. Fry on low heat till the raisins plump up and the cashewnuts get brown, ensuring that they do not burn. Add the ghee, along with the fried cashewnuts and raisins, to the mixture cooking in the other pan. Mix well.
10. Continue to cook for about a minute or so more or till the mixture has thickened up but is still a bit runny. Your Strawberry Kesari Bhat is ready at this stage – it will thicken further upon cooling. Serve the kesari hot, warm or at room temperature.
Tips & Tricks
1. Use fine rava – also called Bombay rava – to make the kesari. The more granular Bansi rava doesn’t really go well in this dish.
2. I have used only cashewnuts and raisins in this Strawberry Kesari Bath. You may add in some almonds too, if you prefer.
3. For best results, use a heavy-bottomed pan to make the kesari.
4. Adjust the quantity of sugar as per personal taste preferences. The above quantity worked perfectly for us.
5. Use ripe, sweet strawberries for best results. This will give a nice, fruity flavour to the kesari, whereas sour strawberries will make the dish taste sour-ish.
6. You can keep the strawberry puree coarse or smooth, as you prefer.
7. Remember to keep the flame at medium and stir constantly while you are adding the strawberry puree to the pan. This will help in preventing the formation of lumps.
8. Make sure the raisins and nuts do not get burnt while frying them, as that might alter the taste of the dish.
9. You can add more ghee to the Strawberry Kesari Bath, if you prefer. I use a little less than is usually done.
10. I use only water to cook the kesari, while some people use a mix of milk and water. You can do so too, if you so prefer.
11. Switch off the gas when the kesari is still a bit runny. Remember that it thickens up more on cooling.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!