Nei Kasandu – A deliciously simple way of using leftover milk solids from making ghee.

Background

I usually make this when I am feeling nostalgic (which is often!). Each time I melt butter to make ghee, I heat butter till it melts and keep it on medium heat till it froths and pops and the sounds die down. I turn the heat off and remove the vessel. When done transferring the liquid fat into another container, all that remains is the milks solids at the bottom. Courtesy the non stick pans we use now, the bottom does not get burnt and the milk solids retain their cream-brown color.

Growing up, my mom would often use the left over milk solids to make “nei kasandu”. I have no clue how to translate it for non-tamilians. Following her example, I make it too. It is yummy, obviously high in sugar and fat but a delicacy for sure 🙂

Stuff you will need:

Left overs after making ghee
Sugar depending on taste
Whole wheat flour about a cup (adjust based on the ghee and sugar)

How to make it?

Set the pan with the milk solids left over from making ghee on the stove on low medium heat till the solids start to melt. Add the whole wheat flour and mix. Stir till the flour is roasted and causes the milk solids to leave the pan and become a brownish mix of ghee and flour. Add sugar and mix. When a heavenly smell emanates from this concoction, turn heat off and remove from stove. Let cool and make into balls.

Eat them each time you pass em 🙂

Special Notes

This is a good way to clean the pan used to make ghee as well as make a satisfying treat for those with a sweet tooth. Absolutely not healthy!

Advertisements

Rava Kesari aka Sooji Halwa aka Ksheera – Cream of wheat with sugar, ghee, cardomom and cashews

Background:

Today my niece turns ONE according to the lunar calendar. For those familiar with Nakshatra and Rasi that Indian calendars follow, today is the same nakshatra as the day she was born in. Keeping with tradition we had her Ayusha-homam today. This is done to bless the child will a long life.

Being her aunt, me and K went over bright and early and I made kesari. This simple dish is my favorite and can be made in many different ways. The basic recipe is the same and it can be given a twist with the addition of milk and saffron like I did today or cut pineapple chunks like some others I know do.

Stuff you will need:

Rava (cream of wheat) – 2 cups
Sugar – 2 cups
Ghee – 3/4 cup
Water – 2 cups
Cardomom – 10 – 15 peeled and pounded
Cashews – 15 broken into bits
Raisins (golden or black) – 20
Saffron – a pinch
Milk – 1/4 cup


How to make it?

In a wide mouthed pan heat 3 tsp ghee and fry the cashews till golden brown. Set aside. Next fry the raisins till they swell and look huge. Set aside. Add three fourths of remaining ghee and set heat on medium. As the ghee melts, add the rava and fry it. It should look fried with reddish dots. Now add water slowly stirring all the while till all the water is done. The kesari will now become soft and look cooked. Now add the sugar and stir slowly till the mix bubbles and becomes sticky. Continue stirring till the kesari leaves the sides of the pan and when divided splits into two parts without sticking. At this point, stir in the remaining ghee, add the fried cashews, raisins and mix. Turn heat off and mix the pounded cardomom in.

Serve hot.

Serves 8 – 10 people depending on serving size.

Special Notes:

You can omit the milk and saffron. Feel free to experiment with the quantity of sugar and ghee. The resulting product might be more like upma but can be had as a snack. Add diced fruits when making the kesari to give natural sweetness and cut down on sugar. Pineapples are a great idea. Try this with alternatives to rava/sooji like cracked wheat, semolina or flattened rice (poha).