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Heretical But Glamorous Rava


Basic rava

Edible silver or gold foil

Unblanched almonds
1/3 cup
Pistachios – chopped

Cardamom seeds – crushed
½ tsp

Splash or rose water

Scatter rose petals

Heavy cream
½ cup to ¾ cup
Fruit – optional

Notes on Ingredients:

Rava is the Gujarati word for semolina, which Indian groceries sell by its more common name of sooji. Cream of Wheat (regular- not instant) will do in a pinch.

Brands of rose water vary in nature and quality. Indian rose water tends to have a peculiar undertone. I would stick with the Middle-Eastern or French brands because they have a truer rose note, and be sure you get the culinary rather than the cosmetic kind.

Edible silver foil is sold in Indian groceries. For gold, you may have to go to a framer and gilder, where you can buy booklets of leaves of pure gold. Many Indians believe in the fortifying power of ingested precious metals. Actually their benefit, if any, is in the mind's eye.

Starting with basic Rava, wait until the mixture cools slightly and tip into the bowl of a food processor with about unblanched almonds. Process until the mixture smooths out and the almonds are finely chopped. Add cardamom seeds crushed in a mortar and a splash of rose water.

Whip heavy cream to soft peaks and fold into lukewarm or room-temperature Rava. Pour into a serving bowl (silver if you like) and refrigerate until you want to produce dessert.

Garnish with as much edible silver or gold foil as you are moved to use, a strewing of chopped pistachios, a light grating of nutmeg, and at the very last moment a scatter of dewy rose petals (unsprayed, of course).

Rava is usually served on its own, but at Navroz we like it with strawberries, at other times with raspberries, sliced mangoes or blood oranges. Serves 10 to 12.