The sweet, kesari is synonymous with rava kesari. If there is a change in the ingredient or addition of another, it gets added to the name like Pineapple kesari or semiya kesari. As with halwas, there are varieties of kesari. The most common at home is rava kesari. Two years back, during our visit to my BIL at Bangalore, we were invited by J akka, sister of my co-sister (manni in Tamil). J akka is like a sister to me too and incidentally she shares my sister's name. J akka cooks well. One of her signature dish is Bisi Bele Bath. She had made that for lunch and for dessert, it was kesari. When I tasted kesari, the texture and color was similar to rava kesari but the taste was slightly different. It was then she told me it was made of aval/poha.
From then on, I wanted to try it at home. But it never happened until two weeks back when my uncle and family came for breakfast on a Sunday. I decided Sevai with potato masala and coconut chutney. I could not decide on the sweet. I wanted to make something light and quick and kesari fits the bill. But then wanted something different to offer to the guests and I was running short of time. My uncle and family was expected anytime. Then luckily the bulb flashed and was reminded of aval kesari. I could make it in flat 15 minutes from start to finish.
I used matta aval (thick, brown variety). if you are using the white variety, the color will be yellow. Since I used brown, the color was brown too. The flavor of poha was more prominent that what I had in J akka's house.
Coarsely powdered Aval - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup
Sugar - less than 1 cup (Take 1 cup if you like it very sweet)
Ghee - 1 1/2 tblspn
cashew/raisins - few
cardamom powder - 1/2 tspn
Yellow color - a pinch
Pulse aval in the mixie coarsely. The texture should be grainy and not too fine. This will help in getting a fluffy kesari rather than a gummy kind. Heat a kadai. Add half tablespoon of ghee. Roast cashews and raisins and remove them. Add a cup of water and and a pinch of yellow color. When water starts boiling, stir in the powdered aval. Mix well. When the water is fully abosrbed, add sugar. Aval doesn't turn lumpy like rava. Its lot more easier. Stir in a tablespoon of ghee. Keep mixing and it gets done in 5 minutes. You can see the ghee floating on top. Add cardamom powder and the roasted cashews. The amount of ghee required is also less than in the usual kesari. It remained soft even the next day.
Friday Kolam and this is the last friday of the month in the regional calendar (Thai/Makaram)
MahaShivarathri wishes to all my readers who celebrate.