Every time I stir a pot of this aromatic, gluten free, chickpea flour based gruel, I am hit by this nostalgic wave of tsunamic proportion. The image of my late mother dishing it out to us first thing on the cold and numbing wintery mornings of my home town makes me want to grow back into a child again. No, we didn’t have the concept of soups then (and they took rather more effort too). So, as kids, my brother and I have been virtually taken care of during the harsh winters by this gruel and this ginger based concoction that Mum used to feed us religiously all through winters. These desi dishes are not only preventive but also therapeutic in nature. The kahwas of the world arrived much later in life.
I have often mentioned about this comforting, nutritious and delicious soupy kind of dish that never let us fall sick or fall pray to cold or flu despite the coldest of north Indian winters. Well, it was time to upload this post after all these years of blogging and a few fellow bloggers requesting to share this asap. Chickpea flour based goodies are dished out mostly during the winter season in the homes of cold northern India as it is believed to nourish the body with ‘warmth’. A word of advice here…This dish may not look at all appealing as perhaps a bowl of soup but I promise you that it certainly is a bowl of deliciousness which you wish, would never end. The nutty aromas of roasted chickpea flour will fill your kitchen with warmth that is so comforting. Trust me, it certainly tastes better than it looks.
2½ measuring tbsp melted Ghee (Burnt Butter)
4 measuring tbsp Besan (Chickpea Flour)
Sugar to taste (I added 2 measuring tbsp)
2 Cups Water
1 tbsp Sliced Almonds
Place a heavy bottomed pan on heat and add ghee. Reduce the heat to low and add chick pea flour. Using a spoon or spatula, roast the flour on low heat till its colour changes to a deeper tone and it emanates a nutty aroma (approximately 10 – 12 minutes) stirring continuously.
Add water and increase the heat to high. At this point the soup will look grainy and curdled. Keep stirring the pot till the contents come to a boil. Reduce the heat , stir in the sugar and simmer for 30 seconds and then switch off the heat.
Pour the contents to serving bowls and serve immediately garnished with almonds. It tastes best when consumed hot.
Note: It is extremely essential to roast the chick pea flour well so as to bring out its nuttiness. Else the soup will taste very raw and pasty.
Note: Vegans can replace the ghee with coconut oil. Although I have never tried it with coconut oil but I believe it will not be able to give it that rich taste which ghee lends.
Note: Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of ghee in the recipe.
Note: Ditto for water. Feel free to decrease or increae its amount.
Note: You can replace water with milk to make the soup richer.
Note: You need to constantly keep stirring the contents in the pot to prevent them from burning.
P.S. – This dish is named as Sheera and some, especially Maharashtrians, may perceive it as halwa (since they call their halwa by the name sheera) but this happens to be a typical Punjabi style sweet soupy kind of creamy textured dish that is made mostly during winter season or to cure a flu and sooth a cold.
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