Festival Recipes

Elakkai Badam Paal Rava Kesari, and a bit of nostalgia | Festival Recipes

Tomorrow being Ugadi (and the start of the Kannada / Telugu new year), some festival preps are going on at home. I had posted an entire Ugadi thali along with Obbattu (dal Poli) here and here.

In the midst of all this, I suddenly miss my pati (grandmom) a lot. A fiercely gusty lady, she’s been a beacon for many dishes on this blog – Thenkuzhal, Moong Dal PayasamSeedai, Mosaru Avalakki (Poha in curd)Jaggery PohaKarjikai /Karigadubu (somas), Dhaniya Kuzhambu Vellarikai Khara Pachadi (Cucumber based relish), Paruppu Urundai Kozhambu (steamed lentil balls in a spicy tangy gravy), Uppu Sajjige (a semolina based satvik porridge, eaten for Ekadasi) and so many many more

And I remember her making this extra flavourful Paal Kesaribhath (as we call kesari back home) for most festivals as “Amsai” or “Naivdedyam” to the Lord before her daily pooja , and even when guests dropped in unexpected. It was redulant with aroma as she used to roast cardamom and then add to the kesari. So, Elakkai = cardamom, Paal = milk in Tamil. 

Which made perfect sense for me to post this not just for the festival approaching, but as a keepsake of lovely memories. So, we have a sweet Upma (as I called it then :p) for letter E.


And considering the hubby (who doesn’t eat sweets) polished it off with the girls, it means I did something good 🙂  

Prep time – 10 mins, Cook time – 20 mins, Makes – 1 cup of heavenly Kesari 🙂


Fine Sooji – 1/2 cup

homemade ghee – 2 TBSP

Sugar – 2/3 cup

Milk – 2 cups

Homemade Badam Milk Powder – 2 heaped tsp

Cardamoms – 2 

Few strands of saffron

Food colour – tiniest pinch (totally optional)

Salt – a tiny tiny pinch

Badam / Almonds – 2 or 3 sliced thin.


How to:

In a non stick pan, roast the whole green cardamoms for 30 seconds or till warm. Peel, pound them in a mortar pestle and keep aside. Soak the saffron in 2 tsp of warm milk

Add ghee to the same pan (about 1 TBSP), roast the sliced almonds till golden brown and keep aside.



In the same pan, add rava and roast slowly on low heat for 2~3 mins till aromatic, taking care not to burn it. Remove to a plate and let it cool completely.

Return the pan to the stove, and add the milk, let it come to a rolling boil, add the badam milk powder, cardamom now and soaked saffron strands. Slowly add the roasted sooji, and whisk your way till you get a porridge kind of consistency. 

Cover and cook for 6 mins. Now add sugar and as the dish slowly starts moving around, add the food colour (if using), salt and the rest of the ghee. 

Cover again and cook for 2 mins till its fully done. 

Serve warm, topped with some saffron and / or roasted almonds.



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  1. CookwithRenu

    Oh my , this looks so yummy. Just drooling over that bowl. Such a wonderful treat as prasad or even when guest comes around.

  2. vaishali sabnani

    Festival Greetings ! Wow ! All I can say is – I am drooling ! What a perfect dish for the occasion ! Looks yum and sinful .

  3. Sharmila Kingsly

    Wow.. Too delicious and tempting that single bowl.. Im gonna make this for me soon!!

  4. Suma Gandlur

    The kesari looks very festive. The addition of milk, badam powder and of course grandma's memories makes it extra special.

  5. Wow! Perfect for a festivals, right? Love the flavorful kesari.

  6. That's a fantastic dish Kalyani. Our grandmoms dishes are always a hit right, good one!

  7. Gayathri Kumar

    Please pass that bowl Kalyani. The kesari looks fabulous and a perfect sweet for any celebration. Milks adds so much richness to the already rich kesari.

  8. Awesome dish Kalyani. Perfect for festivals.

  9. Hope you had a great Ugadi Kalyani. Traditional family recipes are always great and thanks for sharing. That looks delicious.

  10. So lovely to read about your grandmother. Festive times are when we miss them the most. Love this variation of the classic rava kesari. Yum yum!

  11. Loved how you have used badam milk powder in halwa.. looks so delish. I appreciate Kalyani how fondly you remember your grandmom keeping her alive though your food and posts..

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