Fruit kesari


Ingredients (measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
•    ½ cup fine rava/sooji/ cream of wheat
•    1 tsp ghee for roasting sooji
•    4 to 5 tbsp ghee or 2 tbsp ghee + 2 tbsp oil or 4 tbsp oil (use a neutral flavored oil)
•    12 to 15 cashews
•    1 tbsp raisins
•    ½ cup chopped apple or 1 small apple, chopped
•    ½ cup chopped pear or 1 small pear, chopped
•    ½ cup chopped pineapple
•    ⅓ cup chopped banana
•    ¼ cup pomegranate arils
•    ½ tsp cardamom powder or 3 to 4 green cardamoms, crushed to a powder in mortar-pestle
•    a generous pinch of saffron strands
•    6 tbsp sugar or about ⅓ cup sugar
•    1.5 cups water
how to make the recipe:
1.    heat 1 tsp ghee in a thick bottomed kadai or pan.
2.    add ½ cup fine rava (sooji or cream of wheat). stir very well.
3.    roast the rava very well stirring often on a low flame.
4.    roast till the rava become fragrant and look crisp. takes about 5 to 7 minutes on a low flame. switch off the flame.
5.    remove the rava in a plate and keep aside.
6.    now rinse, peel and chop 1 small apple, 1 small pear, 1 small banana ( i used elaichi banana) and 2 to 3 pineapple slices. remove the pomegranate seeds from a small pomegranate. pomegranate is optional. you can also use your choice of fruits. mangoes and chickoo (sapota) also tastes good.
7.    heat 4 to 5 tbsp ghee in the same pan. add 12 to 15 cashews.
8.    fry the cashews in ghee till golden. then remove them with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
9.    next add 1 tbsp raisins. as soon as you add the raisins they will start to swell up.
10.    stir and fry the raisins till they swell and become plump. remove and keep aside.
11.    next add the chopped mixed fruits. stir very well.
12.    saute the fruits on a low to medium flame for 3 to 4 minutes.
13.    add ½ tsp cardamom powder and a generous pinch of saffron strands. stir.
14.    now add 6 tbsp sugar or about ⅓ cup sugar. you can add sugar as per your taste.
15.    add 1.5 cups water. stir very well.
16.    bring this mixture to a vigorous boil on a medium flame.
17.    now lower the flame and add the ghee roasted rava. you can also add the rava in parts.
18.    as soon as you add the rava, quickly stir and mix very well. there should be no lumps in the halwa.
19.    add the fried cashews and raisins. reserve a few for garnish. allow for the water to be absorbed by the rava.
20.    do stir at intervals. the rava will soften up. you should not see any whitish or creamish tiny specks on the rava. this means that the rava is not cooked well.
21.    here the fruit kesari is done and ready to be served. if you want to slice fruit kesari like barfi or serve them like i have done, then pour the hot mixture in a tray or in small to medium tart moulds or small bowls. press with a spatula to even. once warm, slice them or unmold them.
22.    serve fruit kesari garnished with the fried cashews and raisins.