Mango Sheera/ Halwa – Akshaya Tritiya Special!

Wishing you all a very happy Akshaya Trititya – an auspicious day for the Hindus and Jains. It is considered a great day to do charitable work, continue your good deeds with extra zest, make investments that are not just monetary, begin new ventures and everything positive you can think of. Do all that makes you happy, express your love, spread the joy and it will grow manifold!! 🙂

Since it is the birth day of Lord Parshurama, I would like to offer a dish made using a fruit I love the most – MANGO and that comes from His Land (Konkan region, the western districts of coastal Maharashtra & Goa in India)! For those who know me, know that I love mango in any form, and that I am loyal to the Alphonso variety. I may try another variety here and there, but nothing compares to the taste of Alphonso. Here is a recipe you can enjoy using the pulp of Alphonso or my second choice Kesar Mango. No other variety please in order to honor my favorite fruit …Hahaha… 😉 I am not particularly a fan of sheera or halwa, a sweet preparation made with semolina flour or coarse semolina, very popular in India. But you put mango in it and I will love it. Main ingredient of halwa or sheera is lots of ghee!! I figured out a way to make sheera more comforting and without the excessive ghee which coats your palate & does not let you truly enjoy the taste of other ingredients. So, if you like sheera and want to enjoy the taste of the ingredients while feeling content at the end, here is your recipe to fall back on. 😉

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Know your nutrients: Mango, the tropical summer fruit, has a good amount of Beta carotene that converts to vitamin A in our body, although not very efficiently. But the other ingredients, milk and ghee, can enhance the absorption of beta carotene.. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A, as an anti-oxidant helps protect your body from oxidative stress.  Milk brings in the protein and calcium and some vitamin A, that’s easily absorbed. If you had to choose between a brownie, or cheesecake or any cake with frosting, or even the Indian sweets for that matter (halwa, burfis etc.) this dish can serve as a healthier alternative since it is more nutrient dense.

Per serving: 220 cals | 6 g protein | 5 g total fat | 3 g fiber | Calcium & vitamin A

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Ingredients (4 servings)

1/2 cup coarse semolina

1.5 cups milk

1 cup Alphonso Mango Pulp/ Kesar Mango Pulp (fresh or canned that contains at least 94% pulp) or pulp of 1 fresh large whole mango (ripe)

4 tsp sugar, more or less depending on brand of canned pulp or ripeness of fresh mango

2 pinches of salt

2 pinches of ground cardamom

2 tsp cow’s ghee, more if you are making for kids! 🙂

A few cashew nuts, and strands of saffron

Procedure:

  1. Melt ghee in a non-stick pan and add the coarse semolina. If you are using additional amount of ghee then you can make it in a steel pan, else the semolina sticks to the base before its fully cooked.
  2. Roast the semolina lightly on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes stirring now and then. Roasting it for long like most sheera recipes will give it a different finish to the dish and bitter after taste. Most sheera recipes require a well roasted, browned semolina that does not absorb much liquid (milk or water), and is cooked mostly in the ghee. I prefer this sheera to be light colored so that it can take on the nice orange color of the mango pulp and the final dish is soft, smooth and non-sticky as it absorbs more milk. A lesson learned from previous experiment.
  3. Once its lightly roasted, remove it from heat and pour the milk. Be careful as you pour. Mix well and cover it with a lid with a hole or place it at a slant to prevent any spillover. Allow the semolina to cook on low heat; stir every now and then.
  4. When the milk is mostly absorbed, pour the mango pulp & sprinkle salt & ground cardamom. You can increase the heat to medium and there is no need to cover again. I have used my mom-in-law’s crucial tip here – salt in very small amounts when added to any sweet preparation can make it all the more delicious.
  5. Taste and add some sugar to the dish. Amount of sugar will vary with the brand of mango pulp you purchase. For fresh mango pulp, it will depend on the sweetness of the mango.
  6. When the sheera is not too moist, turn off the heat and allow it to cool a bit. As it cools it will swell further and become less moist. Serve with a garnish of cashew nuts and saffron strands.
  7. Enjoy and don’t forget to like the recipe on the blog or FB, share it or leave a comment. Thank you!! 🙂

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