Saffron Semolina Pudding (Semiya Kheer)

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Saffron is considered one of the world's most exotic - and expensive - spices. Gifts of saffron are exchanged during Diwali, and this is traditionally a dessert made on special occasions. Although, if you have a sweet tooth, you don't need an excuse to prepare this delicious dessert.


  • 1 1/2 tsp. ghee (clarified butter)* or vegetable oil
  • 10 - 15 raisins
  • 10 - 15 cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups semolina
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Pinch of saffron strands
  • Slivered almonds for decoration


  1. Heat the ghee or vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the raisins and chopped cashews. After about 2 minutes, add the semolina, reduce the heat and cook, stirring for 2 -3 minutes. Add the sugar and mix well. Pour in the milk and add the saffron. Cook over low to medium heat, whisking well. When the mixture begins to thicken and the semolina is cooked, remove from heat.
  2. Decorate with slivers of almonds and serve while still warm.


Place sweet, unsalted butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on low heat. Simmer until the butter melts completely, stirring often. Continue to simmer until the butter stops crackling and the milky solids turn brown and either cling to the sides of the pan or fall to the bottom. As soon as the solids turn brown, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner. Let the residue settle to the bottom of the pan then strain the clear butter fat or 'ghee' through a cheesecloth. You can also find ready-made ghee in most Indian grocery stores or markets.