Parsi rava is like a yummy rice pudding but uses semolina instead of the rice and boiled milk instead of a custard.
So really it isn’t much like a rice pudding at all, but it’s a white-creamy colour and I guess that’s close enough. The semolina has a really lovely texture, that I prefer to a rice pudding anyway.
My Bombay household usually makes this in the morning for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and Parsi new year
Parsees must have rava for Parsi New Year and birthdays. It’s crucial. Hell, it’s the crux of our family meal. Parsees everywhere would throw terrible tantrums if there was no breakfast rava… well I’d throw a tantrum.
Eat it for breakfast or as a dessert (or both if you like). Lately I’ve been craving some in chilly ol’ London. Also I felt like procrastinating. I was supposed to scan some drawings over the weekend but I’m being lazy.
So I cajoled the ex into making the first batch. The ex forced me into the role of su chef (read that as ‘lackey’) to help out and then I felt relatively confident about handling it on my own.
I should mention that I’m not much of a chef. I once nearly burned down my flat kitchen. The exhaust above the stove melted, there was charcoal everywhere. We didn’t have a fire alarm or extinguisher. Then the ex came over and fought with me. To say it was a bit of a bad business is an understatement.
The incident was slightly traumatic and I feel nervous around fire and oil now, but this recipe is so simple, even a dolt like me can manage it.
Also all the recipes out there on the internet seem a little odd or convoluted and involve rose-water and all sorts of nonsense so I thought I’d post this pretty straightforward recipe. I’m helpful like that. Sharing and caring.
Parsi Rava for 2 people
Or one greedy person. I’ve finished all of that bowl above. It’s a very moreish pudding.
Total time: 15 mins
- 3 teaspoons melted butter or Ghee (Clarified butter)
- 2 tablespoons semolina
- 2 cups milk with 2 tablespoons sugar mixed in it
- 2 tablespoons soaked raisins (or as many as you like, I like a bit more, soak for 10 mins in hot water)
- 2 tablespoons pistachios (soak with raisins)
- small handful almonds blanched and finely sliced (or add as many as you like)
- a pinch of nutmeg
- cardamom (power I think)
- drop or two of vanilla essence
1. Lightly brown the almonds in 1 teaspoon of ghee.
2. Then add the raisins and pistachios to the same ghee.
The soaked raisins look wonderfully plump and luscious in their glistening coat of ghee.
Don’t I sound like Nigella? I’m channelling.
Although unlike the seductive and sensuous Nigella, the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the wrinkled raisins all swelled up was of a engorged tick sucking the blood of some hapless dog. I loved pulling them off and dropping them in kerosene. I hated those ticks but the way they morphed from a paper-thin bug into a swollen monster fascinated me. This memory is probably not something I ought to mention halfway through a recipe. Oh well. Don’t let that put you off.
3. Remove once roasted (about 1 min or so) and keep on the side in a bowl.
You can pop one or two in your mouth. The ghee or butter does something to the raisins. It just makes it better. Ghee makes everything better. Ask any Guju. Go on ask ‘em.
4. Add 2 more teaspoons of ghee + 2 tablespoons semolina & stir until it turns light golden. (It cooks pretty quickly – so don’t let it turn brown, which means it’s been burnt. Apparently. I didn’t get to the burnt stage.)
Ghee ghee ghee! The ex carted a little tub back all the way from the Punj. We’re both such Indians – We’re constantly carting back food and jars of pickle. The ex’s ghee is white, which puzzled me. I always thought ghee was yellow. Drawings of child Krishna always had him grabbing mutkas of yellowish ghee and stuffing his face. Artistic license I suppose.
5. Then pour in the milk bit by bit and keep stirring. Don’t pour all at once, because you’ll lose that rich flavour of the boiled milk.
This is what my mother told me, and what my Great-granny told her. My Great-gran and my mother were at each other’s throats for the better part of 20 years, so she could have lied about the milk. You never know.
6. Once you’ve poured in all the milk, add half the raisins and nuts and keeping stirring. If the mix is too solid add more milk. Should not be too thin or too thick. (Pretend you’re Goldilocks.)
In my combined greed and sloth I doubled all the ingredients (so it was a 4 person batch) when I made a second batch of this and was stirring for a good 10 mins. A 2 person batch is much quicker. (Greed because I’m going to eat all of it, the ex is not a fan. Sloth because I don’t want to make it again so I made a bulk batch.)
7. Add a pinch of nutmeg. You can also add cardamom, rose-water or a drop of vanilla essence if you like.
I don’t add any of those things. Just the nutmeg. I don’t like the idea of rose-water, but I daresay it could be quite fragrant and shit. I’m not exactly sure how much nutmeg goes in. I put in a liberal pinch. It seems alright.
8. Pour into a dish, sprinkle the rest of the almonds and raisins on the top and allow to set.
Try not to stick your finger in yet. Just lick the ladle. That should hold you.
9. Eat warm or cold. (Mmmmmm warm. 30 seconds in a micro. So good.)
Give it a shot. It’s a lovely winter pudding.
Wow I can’t believe I just posted a recipe. That shows how far I’ve come since the days of burning down the kitchen.
Now I need to go lovingly prepare my ready-meal dinner.