Kaju kesari halwa


Roasted semolina and chickpea flour pudding with cardamoms, cashew nuts and saffron.

It’s Janmashtami this time of year, in mid-August, another year and another reason to celebrate Lord Krishna’s presence in our lives. To celebrate his glories and be ever thankful for His countless blessings each moment of our lives. Janmashtami is celebrated as His birthday, a day to rejoice in the festivities surrounding this very special day.

I fondly call him my Ladoo Gopal and he holds a very special place in my heart. For my Ladoo, I make the same prasad or sweet offering, a simple yet delicious halwa – Roasted semolina with cardamoms, dry fruits and saffron. Also called sooji ka halwa. Here I’ve just added cashew nuts, and flavourings of cardamoms and saffron. A touch of besan or chickpea flour, gives it more depth and flavour. It is vegan and dairy free, simple to make and best eaten when it is freshly made and served warm.


1/2 cup semolina

2 tbsp. besan or chickpea flour
1/2 cup sugar
Green cardamoms – seeds of 4-5 pods, crushed with a mortar/pestle or rolling pin

2 cups water

1/2 cup roughly chopped raw cashew nuts

A few strands of saffron

Ghee – 2 tbsp.

For the sugar syrup- In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir till sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add saffron strands and crushed cardamoms seeds. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large saucepan over medium low heat. Add the semolina and chickpea flour. Add cashew nuts. Roast over low flame for 8-10 minutes, stir often and roast till light golden. Add the ghee and stir for a couple of minutes.

On low heat, add the sugar syrup.

Gently bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

Stir well. Serve hot.

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