Happy Deepavali 🙂
On this auspicious day, let us all look forward to the light of goodness in people wiping out the darkness of divisiveness, the light of intellect wiping out the darkness of ignorance and the triumph of good over bad.
Deepavali or Diwali is celebrated all over India with folks distributing sweets and wearing new clothes. A simple yet comforting dessert in south India is kesari or sheera as it is called in other parts of India. Kesari is a dessert which grandmoms prepare instantly when their grandkids are craving for sweets. Inspite of being a quickie it packs a punch and is always savored by adults and kids alike. Kesari can be had Hot or Cold, so if you have leftovers, store in the fridge and try it chilled. Some kids also like to rollup rotis or tortillas with kesari as a sweet snack. Lots of options to use it up, but leftovers are rare with this sweet !
Keeping with the tradition of Diwali I wanted to make something sweet but also wanted to checkoff my parameters to qualify as a healthy offering. I started by thinking about a grain to make this dish, usually made with white rava – which does not qualify for my choice of a whole grain. So I picked corn grits. Next, to replace the sweet element – I picked my usual go-to ingredient – Dates. I opted for Mejdool dates which is very juicy and provides good caramelisation. I did digress a bit from my usual path by enhancing this dessert with several tablespoons of ghee, but what is a celebration without some indulgence 😉 The flavor for this dish comes from one of the authentic Indian spices – cardamom, use it quite liberally to get the traditional flavor. Adding a few sprigs of saffron infuses a splash of color, but is completely optional. Garnish with roasted cashewnuts and raisins. Yummy !
Presenting for Diwali – Kesari or sheera made with whole grain corn grits and dates.
Corn Grits Kesari (Sheera) recipe
- Whole grain corn grits (use quick cooking) 2 cups
- Mejdool Dates (cut into small pieces) 10 to 12
- Maple syrup 2 tablespoons
- Ghee 4 – 6 tablespoons
- Chopped cashewnuts 2 tblsp
- Raisins 2 tblsp
- Powdered cardamom 1 tsp
- Saffron (optional) 3-4 stalks
- Add 2 tbsps of ghee to Instantpot and start it to cook on High Pressure
- Add the cashewnuts and raisins and fry to golden color
- Add the corn grits and fry to coat with the ghee
- Add the dates, cardamom, saffron and 5 cups of water
- Pressure cook for 8 minutes or as per your InstantPot cooking times
- Let it rest for 10 more minutes to cool down
- Open the Instantpot carefully after releasing pressure, the grits must be very well cooked and the dates will be soft. Mix everything together therby mashing up the dates as well.
- Add maple syrup and several more spoons of ghee to your liking and mix very well.
- Check on the sweetness – if more desired, add few more spoons of Maple syrup.
- Serve Hot with a drizzle of ghee on top !