Sheera: A Vegan Twist on an Indian Classic

One of my favorite childhood memories is of the days when we would have a pooja at home. The long rituals were quite tedious, especially for a kid, but the fun part was getting together with all my cousins and the amazing vegetarian food one we got to eat at the end of it all.


The prasad, or offering to the deity, would usually be a sweet and simple but incredibly delicious dish called Sheera. Friends, family and neighbors would visit to pay their respects to the deity, and each visitor would get a dollop of the sheera in a cute little paper cup.

Now while sheera, made with rava (farina or cream of wheat), is a common breakfast food and snack in Indian homes, the sheera made for poojas is just a little more special.

For one, it incorporates bananas which elevates it from just delicious to simply sublime.

Sheera also uses tons of ghee and milk which, as is obvious by now, is not part of my pantry.

To make Sheera which was as authentic-tasting as it was tasty, I used almond milk. Almond milk is a great substitute for dairy in sweets and it is quite easily available at health food stores. Believe me, you will never be able to tell the difference. Besides, in a dish that uses a generous amount of sugar, it is also a healthier alternative.

My vegan version of Sheera tasted exactly like the original, and no animals were hurt in its making. Now that’s something even a god has to love.

Prasadacha Sheera

Ingredients:

1 cup rava or cream of wheat

1 cup sugar

1 tsp cardamom powder

2 cups almond milk (I used the regular version but feel free to go with low-fat)

A few strands of saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp almond milk

1 large, ripe banana, cut into a very small dice

1/4- 1/2 cup cashew pieces

3-4 tbsp golden raisins

1 tsp oil

In a small skillet, heat the oil and toast the cashew pieces and raisins until the cashew turns golden and the raisins plump up. Set aside.

In a skillet, over medium heat, toast the rava until it turns just a couple of shades darker and tastes nutty

Remove to a dish and set aside.

In the same skillet, combine the almond milk, sugar, saffron and cardamom powder and bring to a gentle boil. Stir gently a couple of times to help the sugar dissolve.

Add the bananas

Add the reserved rava, stirring constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. It will take just a minute or two before the rava absorbs most of the milk and becomes quite thick.

Before taking the sheera off the heat, add the cashews and raisins and stir in.

Serve hot or at room temperature. It’s delicious either way.

***

I want to apologize here for my rather erratic schedule, but these weeks have been tremendously busy both at home and work. I also want to thank two bloggers who gave me these really amazing awards recently: the lovely and talented Uma for the Rockin’ Girl Blogger award, and the incredibly gifted Priya who gave me the Yummy Blog award. I will need some time to figure out who to pass these on to, but meanwhile thanks so very much, ladies– coming from you, these gifts are really special!


(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Comments

  1. says

    wow, never used almond milk before. the sheera looks so delicious, Vaishali! Congrats on the well deserved awards. Thanks for your nice words.

  2. says

    Trust you to come up with something amazing like that! I am curious about your vegan experiences while you traveled in India, if you’d like to share that sometime.

  3. says

    Mmmm, this looks so good and easy to make! However, I only have black cardamom pods at home, do you think I could use those? Or maybe I can omit the cardamom altogether?

  4. says

    Notyet100, Uma: Thanks!

    Kumudha, I’ve never tried it with soymilk, although I will now. Thanks.

    Evolvingtastes, Thanks. Will definitely share my vegan experiences in India soon. It wasn’t always easy.

    Skribles, thanks. Hope you try.

    Paulina, black cardamom has a much harsher, stronger taste than the green variety, so I wouldn’t advise it. You can try substituting with a little nutmeg, if you have it on hand. It definitely is easy to make and I do hope you’ll try it.

    Cham, Thanks. Almond milk is easily available in stores like Whole Foods and even some grocery stores. It’s quite tasty.

  5. says

    Trupti, Meera, Madhavi, Maheshwari, Chocolatecoveredvegan: Thanks ladies.

    Latha: Thanks for pointing that out. I will make the correction in the recipe. You add the sugar to the almond milk along with the saffron and cardamom powder and stir it a bit to help it dissolve.

  6. Proud being vegetarian says

    Hi Vaishali

    Made it as a Prasad for Ganesh Chaturthi- Yesterday. Felt really good to serve Vegan Prasad to God and Godess.

    I am really grateful to you.

  7. says

    Is there any chance of restoring the photo for this post? I am planning a vegan meetup at an Indian restaurant and want to bring a vegan dessert, since the restaurant has no vegan options. Thanks!

  8. Dalia says

    Thanks for the awesome recipe! My son has dairy allergies so most of the Indian desserts are a no-no :(

    I used ricemilk but forgot to reduce sugar since ricemilk was already sweetened. Nevertheless was an excellent dessert!

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