This past Sunday was Rakshabandhan, I decided to celebrate the occasion by making something sweet that my kids would eat and is healthy to boot. Rakshabandhan is an Indian festival where every sister ties a thread bracelet on her brother's wrist and asks for his protection. There is a whole tale behind the beginning of this tradition.
Anyways, this is a very simple and easy dessert to make. Sooji/Cream of wheat or wheat farina is normally used in the preparation of this dish, but since I avoid gluten, I wanted to make it gluten-free.Hence,I decided to use cornmeal. Why cornmeal??? Because from experience I know that when I substituted cornmeal for cream of wheat in upma, it comes out very good, then why not in the pineapple pudding??? It comes out super-yum! Now I have a delicious dessert too!
Yellow cornmeal: 1 cup
Sugar: 1 cup
Water: 2 cups
Pineapple pieces: 1/2 cup( I used one cup as I wanted to finish the pineapple I had!)
Ghee( clarified butter): 1/4cup
Saffron: 3-4 strands( optional)
Cardamom powder: 1/8 tsp ( freshly crushed from 2-3 cardamom pods.
Cashew halves: 1 tsp( optional,for garnishing)
Sliced almond: 1 tsp( optional, for garnishing)
Raisins: 1 tsp ( optional, for garnishing).
In a saucepan, heat 2 cups water, sugar and bring it to a boil. Add the bite-sized pineapple pieces to it and simmer for 5-8 mins. Add in the saffron strands and cardamom powder.Keep aside.
In a thick- bottom pan, dry roast the cornmeal until slightly aromatic on low flame( usually around4-5 minutes). Make sure you don't burn it. Keep aside in a bowl/ plate.
In the same above pan, heat the ghee( clarified butter) and oil . Roast the almond slices, cashew halves and raisins one after the other. Remove from the pan and keep aside in a plate.
Now add back the dry roasted cornmeal and mix well in the ghee for 1-2 minutes on low flame.Add in the hot water-sugar-pineapple mixture slowly, mixing the cornmeal each time you ad the water. Make sure that it is smooth and there are no lumps.Reduce the flame to the lowest possible, cover and let it cook for 3-5 minutes stirring in between until done. Add in 3/4 of the nuts and raisins and mix well.
Reserve the rest for garnishing before serving.
Cooking made easy:
You could make the above dish with sooji/ cream of wheat/semolina/ farina.
You could use canned pineapple instead of fresh. I prefer using the fresh ones.
Tip for healthy living:
Ghee( clarified butter) has been used for time immemorial in Indian cooking. But in recent years there had been a greater hesitancy in using ghee for cooking for fear of fat accumulation. Ghee in moderation is actually good for the body. It provides the body with good fats that is much needed for the functioning of the body cells like those of the nervous system.
Food for thought:
Love is, above all, the gift of oneself. Jean Anouilh