Narayan Sheera: the simple & delicious halwa recipe

Narayan Sheera based on Dr. Balaji Tambe's 'Ayurvedic Garbha Sanskar'
Narayan Sheera: recipe from Dr. Balaji Tambe’s ‘Ayurvedic Garbha Sanskar’

On the occasion of my sons second birthday, I made Narayan Sheera, a halwa that is rich, nutritious and gives a feeling of satiety to the tummy and soul. It is made for Satyanarayan Puja or any religious ceremony as prasad (food offering to God).

Post Partum diet: I have the book Ayurvedic Garbha Sanskar by pioneering Ayurvedic physician and spiritual master Dr. Shri Balaji Tambe that my mother and I used as a guide during my pregnancies. It is an excellent book for those who are pro natural living and inclined to Ayurveda. Along with all the great information, the DOs and DON’Ts, the book has some recipes, including this Narayan shira / sheera that makes a rich but healthy dessert for one and all, especially beneficial during postpartum care. It is quite potent and so also recommended for women just before going into labor, as it provides the energy to sustain the mother through (and the only food before) the arduous hours of labor, childbirth and immediate recovery period.

This recipe is adapted from the book. Note how the characteristic proportion of suji to ghee to sugar is 1:1:1.


1/2 cup rava / suji / semolina

1/2 cup ghee /  Indian clarified butter

1/2 cup sugar*

2 cups milk

2 tbsp almonds (or more/less, per you wish), chopped

2 tbsp cashews (or more/less, per your wish), halved

1 tsp elaichi powder (cardamom)

1/4 tsp kesar  powder (saffron)

1 ripe banana

1. In a thick bottomed pan, heat ghee and fry almonds and cashews. Set aside.

2. Add the suji in the ghee and fry it on low flame until it changes color to a dull pinkish and fragrant. Heat milk in the mean time.

3. Add the hot milk slowly while stirring so as to not let it form into lumps. After adding all the milk, stir well and cover to let it cook for about 5 minutes on very low heat. Make sure it doesn’t get burnt at the bottom (Put another griddle between your stove and the pan, if you need to).

4. Add sugar, almonds, cashews, saffron, cardamom powder, stir well, and cover for a minute or two. In the end, stir in the ripe banana pieces and cover for another minute or two before turing off the stove.

*The Indian sugar somehow seems sweeter than the one in the US. That said, you could add a couple more teaspoons of sugar if you wish. But again, most people like it not “too sweet” too. So adjust sweetness to your taste.

The ‘authentic’ Kande Pohe

Kande Pohe Kanda Poha
Kande Pohe or Kanda Poha

Kande Pohe (literally meaning Onion-ed flattened rice) are a staple breakfast dish in Maharashtra, India. Of all the variations I have had, the best is made by Aai (my mommy) hands down- not even exaggerating this time! I’m going to share her simple and yummy recipe here. This is the ‘authentic’ way to make it, per me.  And once I show you the rule, you can always appreciate the exceptions 😉

Pohe are flattened/ beaten rice that can be bought in Indian grocery stores. Since they are dried, they can be stored for long periods. They easily absorb liquids and become instantly edible. They come as thick and thin, and for this recipe you need the THICK ones. (Else you will end up with Pohe lumps).

In the Kande Pohe recipe, the fried onions add the sweetness, the peanuts give the crunch and protein, along with the peas to the savory soft Pohe. Lemon juice gives a dash of tanginess.

Trivia: I remember the “chaha-pohe” (Pohe with chai tea) ritual has been an integral part of the ‘bride-viewing’ ceremonies (where the boys family visits a prospective girl’s family in an arranged marriage)! So whats the basis of happy long lasting Maharashtrian marriages? Yes- you got it- savory soft buttery delicious Kande Pohe!

And here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups of THICK Poha / Pohe

1 medium onion- sliced

1 medium boiled potato- cubed (with or without skin)

1 medium-hot green chilly (depending on how much heat you can handle, add another).

6 curry leaves (also available fresh in Indian grocery stores)

1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)

1 tbsp peanuts (make that 2 if you like the crunch in every bite!)


1 1/2 tbsp oil

1 tsp salt (or adjust to taste)

1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp lemon juice (or adjust to taste)

To garnish: Cilantro, grated coconut (preferably fresh)

Optional, but certainly a deal breaker in my recipe: 1 tbsp sour cream or 1 heaped tbsp plain yogurt. This prevents drying up and lends a soft texture and slight flavor. Try without it and you’ll know what I mean.


1. In half a cup water, add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp sugar, stir and add to dry Pohe in a bowl. Make sure no residual water is left out, yet all Pohe flakes are wet. Add the yogurt or sour cream. Set aside.

2. Heat oil, add peanuts and fry for a minute, take out and keep aside.

3. Once the oil is hot again, add curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds. Add chillies and fry for a minute. Add onions and fry until translucent.

4. Add turmeric followed by cubed potatoes. Stir until they are all yellow and lightly fried (1 minute). Add remaining salt and stir in peas. Add the Pohe and stir well without crushing until they are all yellow. Reduce the heat to minimum, add 1 tbsp water along the edge of the pan to generate steam and cover for 5 mins.

Add the lemon juice.Taste and adjust salt / lemon juice/sugar. Stir in peanuts. Garnish with cilantro and grated coconut. Serve HOT! Most like it with hot chai!