Sajjige | Milk Rava Kesari

Sajjige on blue

Today, I am guest posting for the lovely and super talented Monica Bhide.

I bet, you are thinking I got lucky.

Right, you are. I am living my dream.

If you let me, I might even say, it came true as if the universe conspired for this to happen. (May be I read too much of Paulo Coelho’s quotes).

What I want to say is, the thought was always there, somewhere in a tiny corner of my mind. But, this happened when Monica hosted a book giveaway (Imperfect spirituality) a short while back where I got lucky enough to win. On that pretext, mails exchanged and then, the moment presented itself. I was so kicked, I couldn’t stay put. Monica made it all look so easy.

And, she chose this simple yet classic dessert, among the three.

sajjige blue

sajjige empty

sajjige grey

sajjige spoon

Sajjige [pronounced suh-gee-gay, kannada] is special to me. Don’t judge it by its simplicity or the ingredient being semolina. It is so dear, that I am serving it with a story and a chuckle on the side.

After I started blogging, I had a realization about food like I never had in my entire life.

I realized that we eat food not just for taste but, for several different reasons beyond nutrition and well-being. One of the reasons I think we like to eat familiar foods is because of the way we feel when we eat them, for the memory associated with the first experience of that food.

This dish Sajjige [pronounced suh-gee-gay, in kannada] is so simple. At the face of it, it is a mere semolina milk pudding, nothing in the making of it or technique is complicated nor is semolina a fancy ingredient. Yet my mind can cull out precious memories to tell me how special it is.

SAJJIGE - Semolina Milk Pudding - Dig in!

When I was growing up, this dish was made very often at home, often enough for me to develop a distaste for it, out of sheer familiarity and boredom. Surprisingly after so many years, I am curious to revisit dishes like this that I ate because I have to but not want to, that I had abandoned and sworn not to eat again, annoyed at how often they were made. I like to make them now to rekindle memories.

Like I said, we love food not just for the taste, but for the memories, the place, the people, the good times we shared or bad for that matter. To me, Sajjige is truly one of those foods which is always accompanied with a helping of fond memories.

Long back when I lived in my grandfather’s house in a big joint family, once, all the ladies of the house were out-of-town and we, the children were left under the care of my grand dad and uncles, who were no regular cooks. When it was meal time, they decided to try their hand at making Sajjige. I don’t know the reason but, may be I guess, they thought it was easy enough not to mess up. Well, no goof ups but, they made a huge potful of it, runny as a smoothie and sweeter than a candy. You can imagine. My brother, who was never the one to complain about food, took a huge bowl of it with glee. Yet, even in his insatiable hunger, he couldn’t get to finish it, however hard he tried. In our house, food was never to be wasted. Whatever was served on the plate had to be eaten, no matter how long it took. Period.

As he sat there, struggling to gulp an almost impossible-to-finish double serving, the rest of us came up with a rhyming song on Sajjige to mock his plight. Then on, every time Sajjige was made at home, it became an unsaid tradition to sing that song, irrespective of whether anyone was in a similar plight or not. Even today, whenever I make Sajjige, I just cannot take a bite without time travelling to that moment in the distant past, to that day when I rolled on the ground laughing my stomach out at my brother’s predicament!

It is a simple dessert. These memories make it special.

The only difference from how it is made traditionally at home is the use of brown sugar as I find it so very tasty without the extra sweetness. When made with regular sugar though, Sajjige comes out a nice saffron-creamy-yellow. I find the aroma of saffron to be almost hypnotizing good and wouldn’t substitute it with anything else.


sajjige book 3

You can read this Sajjige story at Monica’s website. Read her columns, stories and writings. She has magic in her words…

You’re still here? As you can see, I went berserk with the photo shoot (like I always do?!). Hope you enjoyed this picture overloaded post.



serves 4

print recipe


Things you’ll need:

1/4 cup semolina / rava / sooji

1 tsp + 1-2 tbsp ghee

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup water

a pinch of good quality saffron

6-8 cashews, broken into small bits

2 cardamom pods

4 tbsp brown sugar

1 heaped tbsp sultana raisins

How it’s done:

Pour water and milk into a medium-sized heavy bottom pot or saucepan and bring to a boil.

In the meanwhile, heat a medium-sized kadai or skillet on medium heat. When the pot is hot enough, add 1 tsp ghee followed by cashew pieces and fry till they are golden.Remove cashew pieces onto a plate.

To the same kadai with residual ghee, add rava/sooji and roast until fragrant and light brown, remove on to a dry plate and let cool.

When milk is about to come to a boil, crush saffron with your fingertips, sprinkling over the milk. As the milk boils, saffron will leave out its lovely color. Be cautious not to let milk boil over. Stir to dissolve.

Take the pot off heat and scrape off all the rava from the kadai into the milk, stir swiftly to avoid lumps. Now reduce heat to low and place the pot back on the stove. As rava cooks, it will begin to bubble up like a min volcano. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let cook on sim for about 5-6 mins for it to soak up the milk. When cooked, rava turns translucent and soft. Drizzle in 1-2 tbsp ghee (per your taste), spoon in brown sugar and stir to mix well. As soon as sugar dissolves, switch off and keep aside covered. Pudding loses its melt in the mouth texture and becomes very chewy if cooked with sugar any longer.

Wash the sultana raisins in a small bowl, strain and towel dry. I like to serve them warm in small round bowls with fried cashew pieces and sultana raisins sprinkled on top.


The texture of rava in between upma rava (coarse) and chiroti rava (fine) suits best for this recipe

Substitute water with double the milk if using non-fat or low-fat milk and boil a little longer to reduce moisture content.

I prefer Spanish saffron for its quality, fragrance and color. Refrain from using too much saffron, a pinch goes a long way.

Substitute brown sugar with jaggery or regular cane sugar to suit your taste.

Pudding tends to become dry after a while. To reconstitute, place over low-medium heat, add some milk and stir until desired consistency is reached. Mix in sugar and serve immediately.

Treat yourself to more :

 Just Homemade Recipe Index

27 thoughts on “Sajjige | Milk Rava Kesari

  1. foodaddicted1 says:

    great recipe! semolina pudding reminds me childhood when my mom prepared it to me with cocoa, cinnamon, sugar and melted butter :) But next time I gonna try this one for sure

  2. Amy says:

    I love semolina pudding!! My Mum used to make it all the when (upon my request ;) when I was little! Your recipe sounds delicious! Love it

  3. Nupur says:

    What a wonderful and simple dessert. I remember Mum making similar ( a bit more runny ) semolina milk pudding sort during winters and monsoon. Filled with warmth and care..

    great pictures, that swirly one is the best :D

  4. Vikalinka says:

    Beautiful post, sweet semolina with milk and sometimes raisins is a very common way to have breakfast in Russia :-) especially for children. Your post makes me feel nostalgic!

  5. Simi At Tns says:

    Am still here to leave you a comment :) well i love sajgey with a helping of kharabhath on the side…it’s a marriage made in heaven . I love you pictures and am going right there at monica’s to read your story and I do agree with you – she does have magic with words.

  6. Shruti says:

    Memories do make sajjige special. My mom made this almost every day with jaggery while she was with me helping me with my newborn. Your post reminds me, I havent made this for a while now. Pictures are splendid, as usual. There can never be too many of them. I can watch them all day :)

  7. Deepa says:

    Your post over at Monicas is stunning. Mum often makes Sajjige during our habbas so those are the memories it brings back for me. Loved your story and pics!

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