This recipe for rava, a Parsi dessert that is often served as a special birthday breakfast, comes from Sonya Kharas. You can read more about Sonya and the roots of this recipe in Home Fires. Meanwhile, enjoy this rich, delicate pudding that is as simple as it is exquisite and surprising.
Rava | Parsi Semolina Pudding
2 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp fine semolina
2 cups milk
2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
½ tsp freshly ground cardamom
2 tsp ghee
2 tbsp slivered almonds
2 tbsp Hunza raisins (or other plump golden raisins)
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Melt the ghee in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat.
Add the semolina and stir to combine with the ghee. Continue stirring for another 4–5 minutes, or until the semolina has turned a pale golden brown and smells nutty and aromatic.
Add the milk to the pan slowly, stirring as you do, to prevent the formation of lumps. Add two tight pinches of salt and the 2 tbsp of sugar.
Add in the freshly ground cardamom.
Turn the heat down as low as possible and continue to cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any bits of the thickening custard that seem to be catching on the bottom of the pan.
Continue cooking the pudding for at least 20–30 minutes, or until the mixture achieves the consistency of pancake batter and your spoon leaves a narrow trail as you draw it through the rava.
Pour the pudding into a heatproof bowl.
Cut out a circle of parchment paper just large enough to snugly cover the rava. Liberally coat one side of the paper with softened butter or ghee and then place the paper, buttered-side-down onto the rava, to keep it from forming a crust.
Place the pudding in the refrigerator and let it chill for at least 3 hours or, preferably, overnight.
When ready to serve, heat the ghee in a small pan until it begins to shimmer.
Add the almonds and raisins and cook, stirring often, until the almonds are golden brown and aromatic and the raisins have turned shiny and plump.
Scatter the toasted dried fruit over the rava. Sprinkle with a dash of freshly grated nutmeg and serve.