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Crumbly, sweet, and delicious – that’s how you would describe sheera, also known as suji ka halwa. Learn how to make this simple and traditional dessert in less than 30 minutes.
What is sheera or suji ka halwa?
Ghee-roasted semolina is combined with milk (or water), sugar, and cardamom powder to make this crumbly sweet dish.
Folks from Karnataka know it as Sajjige, rava kesari; North Indians call it suji ka halwa, whereas it is popularly known as sheera in Maharashtra.
In fact, every country seems to have its own version. It goes by semolina pudding in Europe and the US, whereas folks in the middle east have their own variant called Lekhmat Al Helwa.
Before we get to the recipe, let’s address the million-dollar question here..
Is sheera good for you?
Before we answer the question, let’s have a little chat about semolina – the key ingredient in sheera.
What is semolina?
Semolina (rava / suji) is a coarse flour made from durum wheat and is usually golden or off-white in color. It is used for making a variety of dishes, including porridge, bread, and even pasta. It is a high-gluten product that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates.
Is semolina healthier than white flour?
Though both semolina and white flour are made from wheat, semolina is considered to be healthier than white flour.
White flour is bleached with a whitening agent, does not have fiber or protein content in it, and is rich in carbohydrates.
Semolina, on the other hand, is made from durum wheat and is a good source of vitamins E and B. It is slowly digested by the body, and hence you feel satiated after eating semolina.
Is semolina better than whole wheat?
When compared to whole wheat flour, semolina is considered less healthy as the carbohydrate concentration in it is higher. Whole wheat flour, on the other hand, contains the entire wheat kernel, including bran, germ, and endosperm, and therefore is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
To wrap it up, semolina offers the following benefits (source – Semolina for weight loss).
- Boosts energy level as it contains carbohydrates.
- It is rich in iron and helps in improving blood circulation in the body.
- Contains calcium and is good for your bone.
- It is good for the nervous system because of the presence of magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous.
- Semolina has zero cholesterol.
So while semolina is great for you, sheera is not because of the amount of sugar that goes into the recipe. It is a great once-a-month indulgence, though, but if you want something healthy for your breakfast, this rava upma recipe made from semolina is a great choice.
How do you make the perfect sheera?
Most folks would agree that making sooji halwa/ sheera is pretty straightforward. In spite of that, I failed multiple times when I was starting out – I ended up with a sheera that was clumpy, soggy, sticky, greasy, and whatnot.
Nothing like the sheera my neighbor would serve the girls in the neighborhood during Kanya pooja along with kala chana.
The very thought of that sooji halwa makes my mouth water – the sheera she served was sweet but not overtly. You could eat it with your fingers without them getting soaked with grease, and they were crumbly, i.e., with one touch, the sheera piece would disintegrate.
That’s my idea of a perfect sheera.
Check out the step-by-step pictures to make sheera and follow the tips mentioned below to make the perfect sheera that we all crave.
Tips to make a perfect sheera recipe
Follow the 1:1:1 ratio (ideally)
The recipe my mom taught me calls for using the same amount of semolina, sugar, and ghee. While it results in a great-tasting sheera, I have noticed that you could go slightly easier on the ghee and sugar and still get similar results. For example, for 1 cup of semolina, I use 3/4 cup sugar and ghee.
Roast semolina till it is golden brown
This is a critical step that can’t be rushed.
Roast the semolina or sooji in ghee on a slow flame for a good 10-12 minutes. This ensures that the fine semolina grains don’t stick to each other and takes away the raw taste.
Note: If you are using dry fruits, start by sauteing them in ghee, and then add semolina.
Reduce the heat while adding hot water or milk
When you add hot liquid, the sooji will start to splatter out. Reduce the heat first and then mix the liquid.
Stir the mixture immediately & constantly after adding the liquid
This will prevent lumps from forming.
If you are new to making sheera, ALWAYS measure the ingredients
Until you are confident of your eyeballing skills, measure the ingredients because for this dish using the ingredients in the right proportion is very important.
Remember this – If the liquid content is less, it ends up being a dry mess. If you add more water or milk than required, then the end result will be soggy, sticky, and clumpy.
Lastly, make sure you are not skimping on ghee. Ghee not only adds to the taste but ensures that your suji halwa doesn’t clump together.
Now there are a few variations to this recipe that I know of. For example, some people add either pineapple or banana (elaichi kela) to give it a delicious twist.
Other delicious Indian Dessert Recipes to enjoy
- Semiyan Kheer – a creamy and delicious dessert that you can put together in a cinch.
- Gulab Jamun – India’s most beloved dessert and a favorite at Indian buffets!
- Rice kheer – Making Rice Kheer just got a whole lot quicker with this easy Instant Pot Kheer recipe. This Indian Rice Pudding comes out creamy and flavorful, without spending hours in the kitchen.
- Gajar halwa (carrot pudding) – Gajar halwa or Carrot pudding is a delectable dessert made from grated carrots, milk, and sugar. Learn this (almost) hands-free approach to making one of India’s most beloved desserts using an Instant Pot.
- Moong dal payasam – In a Mangalorean household, festive celebrations are incomplete without a delicious serving of Moong dal payasam or payasa. Learn how to make this traditional dessert in half the time without compromising on the taste.
Sheera / Suji Halwa (Semolina Pudding)
- In a wok or kadhai, add ghee over medium heat and once it is hot, fry the dry fruits till they are golden brown.
- Add sooji and roast it for about 10-12 minutes till it is evenly brown and fragrant.
- In a saucepan, add water or milk and let it come to a boil.
- Carefully pour the water into the sooji mixture and stir continuously so that no lumps form. Let the halwa cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add sugar along with cardamom and continue to cook till the sugar has melted and absorbed.
- Serve hot.
- Follow the 1:1:1 ratio (ideally)
- Roast semolina till it is golden brown
- Reduce the heat while adding hot water or milk
- Stir the mixture immediately after adding the liquid
- If you are new to making sheera, ALWAYS measure the ingredients
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.
This recipe was first published on Oct 16, 2018, and has been updated with updated text and instructions on October 23, 2020.