Kesar Suji Halwa


Sweets are Harbhajan Kaur’s comfort food. The 96-year-old entrepreneur has experimented with desserts, but this family recipe remains a favourite with her, not least because of how simple it is to make.

Suji, or semolina 1 cup
Sugar 1½ cup
Desi ghee 1 cup
Water 2 cups
Milk 1 cup
Green cardamom 2-3 pods
Green cardamom powder 1 teaspoon
Fresh coconut slices 8-10
Raisins 12-15
Kesar, or saffron 4-5 strands
Edible yellow colour ¼ teaspoon
Dry fruits for garnish

This recipe calls for whole green cardamom, as well as powder. So keep a teaspoon of powder at hand.

A saucepan, a ladle, and a kadhai will be useful.


Making Kesar Suji Halwa involves two main steps. The first is to make chashni, or sugar syrup. For this, heat 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of water in a saucepan.


Add sugar, kesar, and edible yellow colour, and bring the liquid to a boil.


Add the whole and ground cardamom, the coconut, and the raisins.


Let the mixture boil until the sugar has completely dissolved. Then set it aside.


The second step is roasting the suji, or semolina. Start by placing the kadhai on the stove and adding the ghee.


When the ghee is warm—don’t let it become too hot—add the semolina and gently stir.


Add one ladle of water, and continue to stir. Repeat the step four more times, until the semolina is fluffy and cooked. Ensure that it remains white.


Add chashni, and keep stirring.


When the mixture no longer sticks to the side of the dish, your halwa is ready. Serve hot.




You can vary the quantity of sugar based on individual preference.


Adding food colour is optional.

Harbhajan Kaur started Harbhajan’s Bhachpan Yaad Aajaye at 90. She grew up seeing her father cooking sweets and mother making savoury dishes for the family. She continues to recreate many of these for her children and grandchildren.

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