Sweet shira or semolina is a popular sweet in Maharashtra. This particular variation is usually made at the height of the mango season using the pulp of the Alphonso mangoes. (As if we needed any more excuses to have any more mangoes!)
This was usually a ‘special’ dish prepared when visitors were expected. And there were many! Aunts, distant cousins, neighbours and friends – they all popped over for a tea or a coffee, catch up on the news or just dropped in as they were passing by. A tradition, sadly, that is now restricted to the older generations as the younger ones simply catch up at the nearest coffee shop.
Times change, but thankfully, some things stay the same, like the divine taste of this ambe rava.
Pulp of 2-3 Alphonso mangoes (approx. 2 cups)
1 cup Semolina
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
3/4 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds and nutmeg
8-10 almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon raisins (optional)
1. Lightly toast the semolina in the ghee till it is fragrant and golden.
2. Add in the sugar. Mix well. Cover with a concave lid or a steel plate covered with water. Steam cook the semolina in this manner until the sugar dissolves and the semolina is cooked.
3. Add the mango pulp and the spices to the semolina and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the chopped almonds and raisins (if using). Mix throughly.
5. Have a quick taste of the semolina and add more sugar or the spices, as required.
6. Best served warm, not hot.
– This is quite a rich and satisfying dessert although it has been served as a tea time snack.
– I would strongly recommend using fresh mangoes. Don’t bother with the canned variety. It simply does not do justice to this delicacy.