My son grew quite a sweet-tooth during our few months stay in Kolkata last year. He got hooked to the sweets sold in our neighborhood sweet shop - 'Ghosh Brothers'. His favorites - 'Gulab Jamun', all kinds of Sandesh, Soan Papri, Besan Laddoo and of course - Gujiya (The Bangali Sweet shop kind). One time, when the Bengali Sweets were still a new thing for him and he did not know all the names, he had asked me - "Mamma, can I have some haystacks, please." It took me half a minute to realise that he was referring to 'Soan Papri'. Since sweets are not readily available here (though Brij Mohan has a pretty good fare) I make him Besan Laddoo (Sweet Gram Flour Balls), Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding), Kalakand (Milk Pudding) from time to time. While these desserts take a little more time to make, there is one dessert which gets done in minutes - Suji Halwa, which happens to be a childhood favorite of mine. At the husband's house, Suji Halwa flavored with green cardamoms, my Ma always made Suji Halwa with fennel seeds. This version has no milk.
Suji Halwa or Mohonbhog is also a dessert which is served during Pujas, raisins and nuts are added to it and in many households it is made with milk. This crumbly sweet dessert with Luchi is a much loved combination.
Ingredients: (This was enough for 4 small servings for my son)
- Suji (Semolina) - 2 tbsp
- Sugar - 2 tbsp
- Ghee - 1 tsp
- Fennel Seed - 1/4 tsp
- Water - 3/4 Cup
- Raisins - For garnishing (Optional)
In a pan, heat ghee and temper it with the fennel seeds. Now add the suji and sugar and continuously stir on medium heat till the mixture caramelizes and turns a couple of shades darker. Now add the water and cook on low till the suji mix absorbs all of it and softens. Serve warm. If you want you can shape these into balls or squares.