Rava Kesari Semolina Pudding

Rava Kesari, the classic South Indian semolina pudding that is made for every occasion or for no reason! Easy to prepare and tasty to eat and also most probably the first dessert you learnt to make if you are from the 90s. 😁 Rava is Tamil and Malayalam word for Semolina and Kesari is the colour of Saffron.
Rava Kesari Semolina Pudding

If you have been following me on Instagram, then you would have observed that now I make Kacchi biryani most Fridays! We had overcome the need for sweet after every meal ever since we got on to a sugar-free diet but this Covid19 situation has got us sugar craving! It started with my birthday cake, cookies, and then this Rava Kesari as post biryani sweet. Not a good idea, as we were stuffed with biryani and a ghee loaded dessert had no space🤣 So we devoured it much later. I decided to capture the step by step pics because I had the time, as biryani gets done in the oven. I was feeling foolish taking the pics because I was thinking who doesn't know to make Rava Kesari? 

I was wrong! When I shared the step by step pics of the Rava Kesari recipe on Instagram Stories, I got so much love pouring in dm with thank you notes and pics of their recreations etc. I am feeling stupid for assuming that it is too simple a recipe to showcase on the blog. And then I started seeing a spike in Rava Kesari search term on my blog report. I already have a Baked Rava Kesari (because I thought that is a complex recipe 🙄) Lesson learnt - there are budding home chefs and new mommies who need access to failproof easy recipes - so here I am with the recipe for classic Rava Kesari that so many already tried and loved.
Rava Kesari Semolina Pudding

Ingredients for Rava Kesari

  • Ghee: I melted the ghee and then measured it so you don't overdo it. 
  • Cashew nuts: You may add other nuts and dry fruits like raisins.
  • Semolina: I have used unroasted fine semolina aka rava or sooji.
  • Sugar: I used normal white sugar.
  • Cardamom: Powdered. 
  • Saffron: Though Kesar also means saffron, here it is more about the colour of the dish. Therefore, this is optional but recommended for flavour and natural colour.
  • Turmeric powder: a pinch for the natural yellow colour. You may use food colour if you have. 
  • Water: Boiling hot.
  • Salt: a pinch would help but totally optional.

How to make Rava Kesari?

Rava Kesari, the classic South Indian semolina pudding cooked in ghee, sweetened with sugar and flavoured with cardamom is an easy delicious dessert.

The magic number that I learnt from my friend's cook during Bangalore days is 1:1:1. That is an equal portion of Rava, ghee and sugar where the semolina is cooked in three times water (1:3). The steps are very straightforward as Rava cooks in a jiffy. Apart from the ratio, the other thing you need to remember is to add the sugar only after the Rava is cooked through. You will know it when the water is all absorbed and the splattering is settled.
  1. Heat ghee
  2. Fry the nuts, remove and keep aside
  3. Roast the Rava until aromatic and lightly golden 
  4. Stir in hot water
  5. Add flavours and colour 
  6. Add sugar 
  7. More ghee
  8. Stir in fried nuts
  9. Serve
That's it!

Rava Kesari Semolina Pudding

The North Indian version of Rava Kesari is called Sooji ka Halwa and their method and proportions are different but the ingredients are almost the same. Have you heard of Chow Chow Bath? It is a plate of both sweet and savoury form of semolina dish. If I could, I would have made Kesari Bath and Kara Bath for the love of my Bangalore days but insha'Allah, another time. So here is the much-loved recipe that won many hearts - presenting to you Rava Kesari! 

Rava Kesari Semolina Pudding Recipe


  • 1/3 cup melted ghee
  • 8 to 10 cashew nuts
  • 1/3 cup semolina
  • 1 cup water, boiling hot
  • 1 tablespoon saffron soaked water (optional)
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar


  1. Heat half portion of the measured ghee in a shallow pan on low to medium flame.
  2. Fry the cashews until golden and remove and keep aside.
  3. Add the semolina (Rava/sooji) and roast for 5 minutes on low to medium flame or until fragrant.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the water. Reduce the flame to the lowest and pour the hot water while stirring or stir immediately.
  5. Add the salt, cardamom powder, turmeric powder, saffron water (optional) and keep stirring.
  6. Add more ghee from the reserve when it starts to look dry.
  7. Keep stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until Rava is cooked.
  8. Add the sugar and keep stirring until sugar melts and combines.
  9. Stir in the remaining ghee and the fried nuts and cook until combined.
  10. Serve warm or room temperature.
You may make ahead and reheat before serving again. Reheat with a splash of water to help the ghee to melt without burning. 

Rava Kesari Semolina Pudding

I once said that it would only be fair to dedicate an exclusive blog to share all my love for Semolina! I still believe that it is a great idea but for now, let me build my repertoire of Rava recipes here in but first chai. 😍 


I would love to hear from you. If you have made this recipe then do leave a comment below. If you like this recipe then do share the recipe link on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaai so that I can see your creations!