Banana Sheera or halwa is popular all over India, and is one of the
sweets offered to deities (prasad/prasadam) in temples during
festivals. Made with semolina (cream of wheat), this sweet is known as sheera in Maharashtra, while in the
north and south India, it's called halwa.
The regular sheera does not contain bananas; but I like to make this
version because the delicate flavor of the bananas makes it even more
delicious, wholesome and healthy.
cardamom seeds from the pods and crush into a powder using a mortar and
pestle, and set aside.
In a pan, set the water to boil on medium heat.
Heat 2 tbsp ghee or oil in a small pan, and on medium
heat, fry the cashews until golden and remove. Fry the raisins until
they fluff up and turn golden, and remove.
While the water is boiling, in a wide, heavy-bottomed
pan, melt 4 tbsp ghee over medium heat. Add the rava and saute until
golden brown and aromatic, stirring regularly, and taking care not to
burn it (about 6-8 minutes).
Add the hot, boiling water to the rava and stir
constantly to smooth out any lumps.
Add the sugar and mashed bananas and keep stirring on
low heat, until the moisture is evaporated, and the banana sheera
thickens and starts coming off the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.
Stir in the cardamom powder, raisins, and nuts, and
serve the banana sheera warm or chilled.
You can also add milk instead of water to cook the rava; add 1 1/2 cups
water and 1/2 cup milk for a creamier taste.