When it is made well, it is one of my favourite Indian sweets. It is very simple and easy to make, and if you have just a little bit of patience and follow a few instructions - success is guaranteed! Suji/rava means semolina, so you can find it under such names as suji (ka) halva or rava halwa, but in Maharashtra this dessert is also called sheera. It can be garnished with any kind of dried fruits and nuts, and flavoured with, for example, rose water. A very common version is with cashew nuts and raisins, but since raisins don't agree with me very well, I love it with just well roasted cashew nuts and cardamon. Also, it can be served just like this or pressed with more ghee (clarified butter) and then cut into pieces. We and everyone we know prefer this healthier version without additional ghee. It tastes the best while it is still warm, so if you are serving it not right away, put it into a microwave for a minute or so.
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1. Heat 50 ml of ghee/butter in a pot, add the nuts and fry them till they brown nicely. If you are using the raisins, fry them together with the nuts. Remove the nuts and raisins from the ghee/butter and keep them aside.
2. In the same ghee/butters, fry the semolina on a medium flame until it releases the aroma and browns nicely. Keep mixing it periodically so that it browns evenly, don't let it burn. Be patient and don't rush this step, it will take several minutes and it is a very important step.
3. Add 1/4 cup of water, mix it well and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and mix it well again.
4. Remove the pot from the stove and add cold milk, mix it well. Put the pot back on the stove and keep stirring continuously now so that it doesn't become lumpy. When it starts simmering, pour in the rest of the ghee/butter while mixing, add crushed cardamon seeds and nutmeg powder, keep stirring until halwa thickens all of the sudden (it will take about 2 minutes). Halwa will become dry, but will still be soft, smooth and silky. Remove the pot from the heat.
5. Garnish the halwa with roasted nuts and raisins and serve it while it is warm. Leftovers can be warmed up in a microwave the next day.