Simple, humble, yet delectable Rava Kesari (Sooji Halwa)!

Rava Kesari 1-2

Did I not tell you that I’m going to be soon back with the recipe for a dessert? This is the family recipe that I was talking about in my previous post. This perhaps is the very first dessert I learned to make. Well, it used to be my not so favorite thing to eat, but my husband can just live on this for ever and ever and ever. And, don’t they say, the seed does not fall far from the tree? My son can eat just Rava Kesari as a full meal. I’m not kidding, there used to be days when I have made just this for breakfast.

Rava Kesari 5

After having made Kesari over and over again for several years now, it has slowly become my favorite too. But, I can have it just as a dessert and not as a meal like the boys of my family. Over these years, I have also become better at making it. Well, the recipe itself is not a very complicated one, however, there are a few things that people usually go wrong with. The very first time I made it, despite the clear and specific instructions from my mom, I added sugar before the rava (sooji) got cooked fully. That was a complete disaster and there was no way of fixing it.

Rava Kesari 3-2

You may have seen small lumps of rava, very pasty texture, overly greasy kesari etc. I’ve come past all of these to share with you this simple yet perfect recipe for the authentic breakfast dessert of Southern India. Come on and dig in with me πŸ™‚ !!


Serves : 6

Cook Time : 20 mins


1 cup coarse rava (sooji)

1 1/2 cup sugar

6 tbsp ghee (clarified butter), divided

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

2 pinches orange red food color

3 cups water

For garnish

8-10 cashew nuts

1 tbsp raisins


Melt four tablespoons of ghee in a non-stick pan, add sooji and saute under low to medium heat, until it is nice and fragrant (about 5 mins). Make sure that rava does not turn brown. Meanwhile, heat the water in a sauce pan until it is nice and hot, it does not have to boil.

Add the hot water slowly to the rava while whisking it swiftly and continuously. Alternatively, you can add the rava to the hot water slowly while constantly whisking.This helps to get a creamy smooth consistency of the kesari without any lumps.

To this, add the cardamom, food color and sugar. Whisk well again to allow the sugar to mix well with the cooked rava. Whisking here again helps to avoid any lumps. The sugar would melt and make the kesari look a little runny/watery. This is fine. Continue to cook under medium heat until all of the liquid gets absorbed. Turn off heat when you get the desired consistency. Some like it a little pasty and some may like a little firm.

To garnish, saute cashew nuts in the remaining ghee in another pan. Once they start to turn golden brown, add the raisins and saute until they plump up. Turn off heat and pour over kesari. Mix well and serve warm. Best served with idly, venn pongal and medhu vada.


1. Powder fresh cardamom instead of using store bought cardamom powder for a fresh flavor

2. Adding a couple of saffron strands also adds a very nice flavor to the kesari

3. You’ll hardly find any lumps after all the whisking, but if you still do, try to mash it with the back of a spoon.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. vidhya says:

    Fine grain or coarse rava

    1. It is coarse rava Vidhya. Thanks for the question. I have now mentioned it in the recipe also.

  2. A-kay says:

    Wow Meera, The recipe I follow (from amma, of course) is identical to a T. Guess amma/periamma learnt it from paati? πŸ™‚

    1. Yes Akila. Don’t know how many such recipes they learned from Paatti. We would have perhaps inherited only a subset of them, I guess .

      1. A-kay says:

        Yup and that is quite sad! You are absolutely right, this recipe never fails and its a favorite with K as well as several of my friends.

  3. UmmSumayya says:

    Wow superb recipe there, how did I miss this? I also make kesari in a similar way except for a few changes: I add powdered roasted cardamom and saunf (which I use for almost all desi sweets) plus I add a few drops of pineapple essence which gives a new dimension to the dish. But again you may not want to add too many flavors or some may not like the taste of any particular flavor, so it is purely a personal preference. Back to your recipe, photos are out of the world as usual.


    1. Thanks sweetie, as always!

  4. Framed Recipes says:

    Meera, This one post (and the vada of course )will make me fly over to your place. :). Though you call it simple and humble making kesari is an art. This make go down in the memory lane, travelling to the darshinis of Bangalore and gobbling it for breakfast – Sreelatha

  5. Come on over! How wonderful would it be to make and serve Vada and kesari for you!

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