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Presenting the traditional semolina pudding in laddoo form, I am pretty sure that you will enjoy making them for Maha Shivratree. Garnished with flaked almonds, toasted coconut and raisins, these laddoos are subtly flavoured with cinnamon and cardamom, my two favourite sweet spices. You will only need one pan for this quick and easy recipe which is well within the range of any novice cook and the best thing about it is that you can easily adjust the ratio of coconut, sugar, nuts and dried fruit until the proportions are just right for you.



1 cup fine semolina/greo

1/3 cup raisins or sultanas

1/3 cup coconut flakes

1/3 cup almond flakes

1 tablespoon ghee or butter

1/3 cup caster sugar

1/3 cup milk powder

1 2/3 cups cold water

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cardamom


  • In a heavy pan, roast semolina until it turns few shades darker. Stir regularly as it can scorch easily. Remove from heat.

  • Melt ghee or butter in the same pan over low heat. Add raisins and cook until plump, then add the coconut and almonds.

  • Cook until lightly browned and fragrant. Add milk powder, sugar, spices and water to the mixture and bring it to the boil.

  • Carefully add the semolina and stir it vigorously until it absorbs all the liquid and no longer sticks to the sides of the pan.

  • Remove pan from heat and cool slightly. Shape the mixture into lemon-sized balls. Makes about twenty semolina laddoos.

Semolina Laddoos

Way healthier than the syrup soaked or ghee laden classic Indian sweets, the idli is a humble offering of South Indian cuisine where they are traditionally found on the breakfast menu in either sweet or savoury forms. I have yet to come across a savoury Mauritian idli since we do not have the habit of eating sambar or chutney early morning. The sweet fluffy idli I know is made from steamed semolina/greo instead of fermented rice. This easy recipe will allow you to master the art of making idlis after a few trials, the key is to determine how many minutes your pressure cooker takes to convert the thick, coconut flavored batter into beautifully soft idlis. I should be thanking my dear friend, Naai, who got me this idli mould as a New Year gift years ago. If you are not as lucky, you can still make idlis of any shape in ramekins, muffin pans or aluminum foil cups!



2 cups semolina

3/4 cup milk powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup coconut flakes

5 cardamom pods, crushed

1/2 to 2/3 cup lukewarm water


  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add water until the mixture turns into a thick smooth paste.

  • Lightly grease the plates of an idli mould with butter or oil and fill with batter. Smooth the surface with a wet finger.

  • Place idli mould in a pressure cooker filled with 2 cups water and cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes.

  • Carefully release steam and remove idli mould from pressure cooker. Unmould idlis and serve hot. Makes 20 pieces.

Fluffy homemade idli

Ganesh Chaturthi, the birthday of Lord Ganesh, is celebrated with much fervor among hindus, especially people of Maharashtrian descent, and involves welcoming the Ganpati in their homes in the form of earthen or clay murtis/ statuettes. In addition to prayers, womenfolk also get busy in preparing coconut-filled delicacies as Ganesh is said to have a liking for such sweets. Last year, it took a lot of hard work to get my modaks right but this time I’m going for something much simpler. Kanawla, a small, deep fried dumpling, is usually made in large amounts and distributed on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi after the visarjan ceremony. I added raisins and almonds to the traditional coconut filling along with a bit of milk to make it moist and syrupy. The kanawlas did not keep for long and had to be eaten right away but I’m pretty sure no one minded.



For the Dough

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup semolina

1 tbs unsalted butter

5-6 tablespoons fresh milk

For the Filling

1 cup coconut flakes, toasted

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1/4 cup semolina, roasted

5 cardamom pods, crushed

1/8 cup almonds, finely chopped

1/8 cup raisins, lightly sautéed

2 tbs fresh milk, optional


  • Combine flour and semolina in a mixing bowl and rub in butter till the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

  • Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead lightly until the dough comes together into a soft, pliable ball.

  • Cover and set aside while you prepare the filling. Combine coconut, sugar, semolina together in a bowl.

  • Add cardamom, chopped almonds and raisins. Stir in milk if you do not want the mixture to be too dry.

  • Roll out dough on a flat, even surface with a rolling pin and cut out circles around 3-4 inch in diameter.

  • Place around 2 teaspoons of filling in the centre and bring ends together to seal. Press well with fingers.

  • Heat 1 cup oil in a large frying pan or karai. Gently lower the kanawlas in the hot oil to avoid splashing.

  • Cook over moderate heat until the dough changes colour slightly but should not turn golden or brown.

  • Flip over and cook on the other side. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.

  • Kanwalas should be crisp on the outside. Keeps fresh in an airtight container for 1-2 days. Makes 20 pieces.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

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