So, I have been blogging for over two years now (and I don’t even know where those two years went)! Blogging is hard work, with a lot of sweat that goes in but very little gratification and even that trickles in in its own sweet time. No wonder so many bloggers start and give up much too soon. And by soon I do not mean 2-6 months; I feel people try for a good year before they decide it isn’t their cup of tea and hang their boots. Here is an interesting article by Marketing Land which shares interesting insight into the reasons why people give up blogging. I would not deny having second thoughts about my blogging journey . It was (and is still not) easy persevering and waiting patiently for the gratification . But if I can be honest and if I can say it without mincing any words, I would say this- you are in the wrong profession if you are blogging just for gratification and limelight! Yes, kind words never hurt and a few encouraging pushes go a loooooooong way (trust me they do!) in making this labour intensive, highly competitive world a tad easier to battle but one needs to be TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY driven by pure passion and joy! Passion for your niche, for what you do and the joy of sharing.
For me, the first one came a little later as I gradually dug deeper into the world of cooking and photography and what I found challenged and mesmerised me even more; what kept me going in the initial days was the sheer joy of sharing my recipes , my ideas and my opinions! I did not care how many people actually read my posts and responded. It was enough even if a few read and resonated with what I shared. And the best part? I could say and share it all from the comforts of my work desk without trying to please people or be diplomatic . And for an ambivert (with strong introverted tendencies) who never learnt the art of sugar coating, this was HEAVEN! So, yes that’s that!
What did not excite me however or was more of a dark spot so to speak is the ability to gauge my audience . And it took a considerable amount of trial and errors…loads of trials and 1.5 years worth of errors to finally able to get a fair understanding. But that is something which comes with time and one shouldn’t beat oneself if you do not have it all figured on day one. These things take time my friend and trust me once you kinda discard the impatient side of your personality , great things will happen. Good things happen to people who wait!
So, yes when I started blogging I created these fancy recipes which I thought would leave my audience begging for more. But guess what! It didn’t ! What I realised much later is people are looking for simple , easy and day to day recipes . They would lap it up even if it is not Michelin Star quality. So, slowly and steadily I am populating my blog with simple recipes like the one I am going to share today -Sooji Halwa (or semolina pudding). It is one of the easiest Indian desserts to whip up, with simple ingredients in your pantry but then again it has taken me a few attempts and trying different techniques to finally get a perfect recipe.The key to a good shoji halwa is:
- well roasted (but not burnt) sooji or semolina
- 1:1:1 ratio for sooji:sugar:ghee ( I mean why would you eat halwa at all if it is not rich and sinful!)
- not overcooking the halwa once sugar solution is added. So, basically if you dry it out too much it gets even drier once it has cooled off and a that is a huge nay! nay!
That’s it! So, lets proceed and make some yummy and luscious halwa:
- Sooji/Rawa/Semolina- 1 cup
- Melted Ghee-1 cup +some extra
- Sugar (I used brown sugar)-1 cup
- Chopped nuts and dried fruits of choice (I used raisins, cashews, almonds and pistachios)- 1/2 cup
- Cardamom powder-1 tbsp
- Water-1 cups
- In a thick bottomed preferably cast iron wok add half a tablespoon ghee and on a low flame, with continuous stirring roast the sooji until it just about turns golden and emanates a nutty aroma; transfer to a plate and keep aside
- In a sauce pan bring 4 cups water to boil and to it add sugar and mix till it makes a homogenous solution; turn off the heat and keep aside
- To the same wok add ghee and when it is hot, reduce the flame and add chopped nuts and raisins and fry till slightly golden
- Add the roasted sooji and cardamom powder and stir so the ghee, nuts and sooji are mixed well together
- To the above mixture add the sugar solution making sure it is hot when you add it
- Very carefully, maintaining a safe distance stir the mixture till it starts to come together ; at this point the mixture splatters a lot so keeping a safe distance is important
- Continue to mix till it reaches a porridge consistency and very little water remains; we do not want the halwa to dry out too much at this stage as once it cools down it dries out more and doesn't taste very good
- Finish off with a dollop of ghee and serve hot