Sooji Halva is a very popular Indian dessert. It is often made for special occasions or celebrations, and is also often used as an offering to the Gods (called a prasad).
It does not have to be a special occasion for us to make it though! We often just crave the rich yet subtle flavors, and contrasting textures of the soft semolina and crunchy nuts. Making it a uniquely rich comfort food!
about 4 cups
stick of butter, unsalted
green cardamom pods (crushed and muddled, discard the shells, use the seeds)*
In a medium/large saucepan, on low heat, slowly melt together the butter and semolina. Stir occasionally and mix well, until the mixture is golden/dark brown. (This should take about 20 minutes).
At the same time, in a separate small/medium sized saucepan, on medium/low, heat the sugar, water, saffron and cardamom seeds. Heat well, so the sugar dissolves (boiling is okay but not necessary).
When the sugar has dissolved and the semolina is brown, carefully add the sugar water to the semolina (it may bubble a lot, turn the heat down if necessary). Stir well.
Stir in most of the almonds and pistachios (reserving some to use as a garnish). Keep stirring and cooking on low for about 7-10 minutes, (until all of the water is absorbed and the surface areas that have contact with the pan get smooth).
Enjoy served warm and topped with the remaining crushed pistachios, slivered almonds and crushed cardamom seeds.