It’s funny how some memories stay with you, no matter how much time goes by. One of my most vivid memories is the of this vacation I took, the summer between school and college.
My parents and I travelled south to Bangalore to visit my cousin and her family. This cousin is a lot of fun and she and her husband made sure we had a wonderful time in their lovely city.
Bangalore is well-known as the silicon valley of India, but even before it got that sobriquet, it was a vibrant, exciting city (of gardens and pubs!) and a cultural and educational epicenter.
One of the things I love about Bangaloreans is that they love to eat out just as much as Mumbaikars. So there is a plethora of options when it comes to restaurants and eateries.
One of the most amusing things I experienced there, was driving up to a street vendor and the vendor affixing a tray to our car window, that would then serve as a table for us to eat off of. So ridiculously convenient! These guys sure knew their stuff 😀
Bangalore was also where I first tasted this divine dessert called Kesari. It is a Semolina pudding, laced with Saffron (Kesar=Saffron) and nuts, quite similar to Sheera. But lighter (as milk is replaced by water) and softer, melt-in-your-mouth!
It is served frequently at breakfast in combination with Upma, which is a savoury semolina and vegetables porridge. The combination of savoury and sweet makes for some interesting fireworks in your mouth.
I am not very fond of sweet stuff at breakfast (except pancakes, love pancakes any time of the day!), but I love Kesari as a dessert. Really easy to make and so comfortingly delicious on a cold rainy spring day.
A wonderful variation to regular kesari is the addition of seasonal fruits. Apples, peaches and pineapples work beautifully in kesari, providing additional flavor and also helping to cut down on the sugar you would otherwise add.
I had a beautiful pineapple on hand, that was going into a juice, before I rescued a large chunk of it, and set about making this luscious dessert. Now the kesari served in most restaurants in Bangalore will have a deep yellow or orange color in keeping with the saffron theme, thanks to food coloring; I decided to skip that and have a more rustic looking dish instead.
This pineapple kesari was heavenly and even won the munchkin’s approval, who ate a bowl of it without a fuss. Now that doesn’t happen every day <3 I am bringing this lovely dessert to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, being co-hosted by Jess @Cooking Is My Sport! and Prudy @Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs this week! See you there 😀
Here’s the recipe.
1/2 cup Semolina
1/2 cup Pineapple, finely chopped
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cups Water
3 tablespoons Ghee
12-15 Cashew Nuts, broken into pieces
Seeds from 2 Cardamom pods, crushed
A large pinch Saffron
Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a pan.
Add and fry the cashew pieces until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set them aside.
In the same pan, add the semolina and roast on a low flame until light golden in color.
Transfer the roasted semolina to a plate and set aside.
Combine the chopped pineapple and water in a large pan and bring it to a boil.
Reduce the flame and let it simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.
Add the cardamom powder and saffron to the pineapple water.
Add the roasted semolina slowly, stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
Add the remaining ghee and mix well.
Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook on a low flame until the semolina is cooked.
Once the semolina is cooked, add the sugar and combine well.
Keep stirring for a few minutes until the mixture thickens and forms as a mass.
Add the fried cashew nuts and mix well.
Take off the heat and serve warm.