I am a big fan of sooji(semolina) ka halwa and this hearty dessert is simply a spin on it. With the wholesome and healthy goodness of the supergrain amaranth, also known as ramdana (grain of the Gods) or rajgira in India. Along with almond meal or ground whole almonds, which also added a rich nuttiness, this halwa turned out downright delicious!
I discovered my love for amaranth when I was in Mumbai this summer. Quite like quinoa, it has a rich history dating back to many,many years, supposedly 8,000 years! It is a source of complete protein, high in fiber and iron and has a very earthy flavour to it. I have been yearning to give it a try and chanced upon it at a local organic store in Mumbai. There, my mom made it for breakfast, by simple cooking it with a little ghee or clarified butter, water and a dash of sugar. I added it to milk, quite like adding cereal or oats, and simply fell in love with it. Quite akin to eating porridge.
In this recipe, I have incorporated the same techniques when one makes sooji ka halwa. I have added organic amaranth and almond meal, along with the usual flavouring of cardamoms and sugar. Easy and wholesome, most importantly delicious and of course the feel-good factor of adding the little powerhouse called amaranth!:-)
Semolina or sooji – 3/4 cup
Organic amaranth – 1/4 cup
Almond meal or ground almonds – 2 tbsp.
Sugar – 1 cup + 2 tbsp.
Water – 4cups
Crushed cardamom seeds – 1/2 tsp.
Roughly chopped almonds, to garnish, a handful
Ghee – 1 tbsp.
Add the sooji and amaranth in a pan and roast on medium-low to low heat, till the mixture starts turning brown. Keep stirring at intervals as one doesn’t want to burn the mixture. This takes a while, to develop a rich, deep flavour to the halwa.
In the meantime, in asaucepan add the sugar and water, to make a sugar syrup. Bring to a boil, reduceheat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the sooji mixture starts turning brown, add the almond meal. Add the ghee and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the sugar syrup, turn the heat on high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes, till the sooji and amaranth are cooked. The mixture should be wettish, not completely dry. Add the cardamoms. Serve hot, garnished with chopped almonds.