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.
Looking for more Indian vegan sweets?
Vegan Sheera Recipe
Sheera or Halwa
- 1 cup cream of wheat (rava or sooji)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 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 tablespoon almond milk
- 1 banana (preferably a large one, cut in a small dice)
- ¼- ½ cup raw cashews (broken or chopped)
- 4 tablespoon golden raisins
- 1 teaspoon vegetable 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.
Thanks for this great recipe. I was skeptical about using almond milk, given its taste once it is heated. But it turned out really flavorful. It was a bit too much sweet for me, so I reduced 1 cup sugar to 3/4 cup, but I might use just 1/2 cup next time.
Great simple recipe - only suggested adjustment is to use 1/2 cup sugar for 1 cup rawa. Even with unsweetened almond milk, 1:1 rawa to sugar ratio was much too sweet for us. Otherwise delicious!
Hi Vaishali, thanks a lot for your continuing effort in making the easy vegan recipes available to vegans all over the world. I am craving for (vegan) Sheera since last few days.
Hi Ravi, thanks for your kind words. So happy you liked the sheera-- I often get a craving for it too, especially the one they serve at poojas. 🙂
Tried this,it was amazing,being lactose intolerant really worked,instead of oil,I used ghee,
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!
Never mind! The link is now fixed and I can see the picture. sorry for the disturbance!
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!
Proud being vegetarian
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.
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.
When do you add the sugar? I must look out for almond milk...
Yay, you're back :o) :o)
I love cream of wheat, so I'm excited to try your Indian version.
Sheera looks YUM!..Almond milk..i have look for it now..
Delicious halwa, awesome entry Vaishali!!!
Sheera using almond milk is really a brilliant idea. great job, Vaishali. Hope you had fun in India. Missed you.
sheera looks delicious..i never used almond milk before.
Congrats on your awars.
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.
Is it okay to use oat milk?
May be i ven't seen almond milk yet! Sounds tasty the vegan sheera
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?
have not used almond milk before; this twist to the sheera seems delish. now i want to try this out too 🙂
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.
Sheera looks delicious. I make sheera
with plain soy milk. Sheera with almond milk sounds very tasty!
wow, never used almond milk before. the sheera looks so delicious, Vaishali! Congrats on the well deserved awards. Thanks for your nice words.
halwa looks delicious,..thanks for sharing,,