Sweet semolina with cashews and raisins(srilankan seeni maa), a mildly spiced, fragrant treat for the Ramadan festivals and special occasions. to some of us it brings back memories of childhood.
Scroll down to Recipe time should you wish to avoid thoughts and life in general by Mama to the terrible four or you can read on.
So what can I say about my almost two weeks of absence?
Only that I can’t guarantee it won’t happen again because, come next month(starts next week)the eldest of the terrible four will be sitting for her o/l’s and looking at the dates of her exams, I’m staring at disaster, scattered exam dates that runs into a MONTH!
Honestly, why would any exam board torture these kids by dragging it for a month?
Ask these kids and I’m sure they’ll have it end soon rather than dragged for a month, mine had already been vocal that she”hated exams and studying”, don’t blame her, not at all, only Sixteen and already “stressed out”of her mind, I mean who wouldn’t be with text books that weigh more than bricks.
Now I understand there might be logistics involved for the exam board to drag it so long but it truly boggles the mind thinking of the anxiety this child and a million other kids would have to go through.
Just think, if they are not properly prepared for it, I’m guessing the whole experience of having exams for this long will end up being a trauma for the rest of their lives. come to think of it, I have a recurring dream of sitting to write a paper, never able to finish writing it and there’s the ticking of the clock, this one happens to me at least once a year.
So if you have a child preparing for the exams, don’t let them go through it on their own, do a bit of organising, come up with a schedule they can adapt and enjoy, be their studying partner when you can because I’m finding it can be a great way to know and bond with them, I can definitely promise you’ll have tantrums and days where they’ll not like you but after all the storms between me and her(16)for so many months, finally, I can feel the calm and an understanding growing between us. I’m kind of liking this bonding thing at the moment even with the grumbling.
Only thinking of next month, I’m wondering if I should just shave off my hair and save myself the trouble of loosing it before the month ends, oh well….
Sweet semolina with cashews and raisins( authentic srilankan seeni maa)
You know when some foods take you back to the past with the very first taste?
This sweet treat just did that to me.
When I was young, I used to not like it, not because of the way it tastes but because to me, at that age, there were too many”pieces”in them which was exactly what my kids said when they tasted it for the first time, they preferred to have me clear up the pieces and just have spoonfuls of the”powder”.
Now with an appreciation to everything connected to my childhood, I realise that those its and bits(cashews, raisins, fried onions) are the key elements that make this sweet give its unique taste. just think, reading this combination unless you’re a sri lankan, you’ll hardly be able to taste the coming together of them and how it would compliment each other, you won’t, I guarantee. But it does and it comes together in a beautiful way, from the Semolina to the ghee and cashews. Spoonful of fragrant, sweet, delicious taste that brought memories of childhood I’ve forgotten.
The first taste of it bought about the memory of my grandmother’s hands spreading out the Sugar and semolina, so slowly and gently, in unhurried movements, her hands stand out clearly, what’s surprising to me is that what I’m seeing is from an eye level close to the height of a table she was working on.To this day, she cooks this way, with such calm movements, I wonder if she’s even aware of the reverence in which she treats the meals she makes.
She puts me to shame every time I think about the mad dash I do in the kitchen just to get a meal done.
As to the name of this treat, I had to get some help from some blogger friends as it is still called”seeni maa”, which means sugar powder in Tamil.The origin of this dish, I truly don’t know, I could be wrong but so far I haven’t found it originating from anywhere outside of Sri lanka, it seems this special, sweet treat does have its roots firmly set in my homeland.
I’m thinking this would also be a great topping for ice creams and chocolate cakes as well.
Moving on to the Recipe, Please make sure to read the recipe at least once before you begin.
The following scales for ingredients are given, presuming you’ll be making it for the first time but should you need to alter for a larger measure, just keep in mind to balance the Semolina and Sugar in equal parts, reduce the amount of Sugar if you want it to be less sweet.
You can’t go wrong with this recipe, unless of course you, burn the Cashews and Onions before adding them to the mixture.
Fine Sugar 500g
Ghee 5 tablespoons
Shallots 500g(finely sliced, you can use the regular onions too)
Pinch of salt(really a pinch)
Using a flat tray, spread the Sugar evenly, I used a large, square tin for convenience, easy to make and store in the same.
on low fire, gently sauté the Semolina for one to two minutes, the color of the semolina should not change, once its semi-hot mix it with the Sugar, while mixing just taste to make sure that its spread evenly. if you find it’s too sweet just mix in more Semolina but mix well and set aside.
On a pan, low fire add the ghee and Onions, Cardamom, Cashews, Pandan leaves, in that order so you don’t burn the ingredients that cook fast and cook until they turn golden brown, especially the onions.
Now add the sautéed ingredients to the Semolina and sugar mixture, mix while pouring spoons of the Ghee, avoid pouring the ghee at once and mix well. let the Semolina and sugar absorb the ghee,leaving a dry, powdery texture. Add the Salt to enhance flavor and store in an air tight container.