South Indian cuisine is full of bright flavors, exotic spices, and vegetarian delights. Kesari or Rava Kesari is a sweet oat and milk side dish that is often served as a dessert. It would be lovely alongside a spicy green curry or Bisi Bele Bath an Indian vegetarian chili instead of rice. A nice warm bowl of Kesari is welcome on chilly days.
The sugar content can be decreased or even substituted with agave nectar or honey to make it more of a breakfast or tiffins item. Coconut milk can also be used in place of cow’s milk as used here. And although you can use water in place of any milk, the result will be less rich and flavorful. For flavor variation, other spices may be added. Only about two teaspoons of any of the following: ground ginger, cardamom seeds, poppy seeds, nutmeg, or cinnamon.
Sweet Dreams Of India
If you ever have the pleasure of dining at a South Indian restaurant, you will inevitably see Kesari on the menu under Desserts. Rava is the term used for what is known elsewhere as boxed Cream of Wheat, which is a very fine processed grain. They make the pancake-like crepes from this grain as well. The sister of Kesari would also be the savory version called Umpa which is the usual pale color of cream of wheat or rava. It has the addition of scallions, mustard seeds, and vegetables. Kesari and Umpa are both often served packed into a ball or mold on a plate served slightly warm. Serving the Kesari in a large pot or bowl for a large group or family style dining is fine.
If you are feeling adventurous try pairing little Kesari molded cakes with Kutsinta from the Philippines, Yema candy, and some Apple Wine for a delightful array of sweets. The array of warm and cool items will complement each other well.