Feast for a fast - Sheera

It's the first of the month already and time for another edition of JFI (Jihva for Ingredients). The ingredient chosen by Santhi this month was flour, which means I only had about a million dishes to choose from. Easy-breezy :-)

To help make the decision easier I decided to look at some of the more uncommon flours that are used in Indian cuisine. These as far as I know, are generally associated with fasts. I thought this would be appropriate also because it is the auspicious month of Shravan.

As a child I used to exasperate my mother with questions on why certain foods were allowed and others were not whenever she observed a fast; "why potato and not onion?", "why cumin and not garlic"? and on and on. Later I learnt the idealogy behind the ritual. Upvaas in Sanskrit is made up of two words - near (up) and residing (vaas). It suggests one becomes closer to God by practising austerity. So meals have to be as 'sathvik' as possible. Well at least that was how it was meant to be, but I suppose hunger overrode religious sentiment because the rules have relaxed a lot since!

In general flours such as buckwheat (kootu), samo (vari), water chestnut (shingada/ singoda) and amaranth seed (rajgira) are considered kosher whereas wholewheat, chickpea, rice and semolina are avoided. My original plan was to make 'upvaas thalipeeth'. My mother warned me over the phone that they weren't as easy as they sounded. "How difficult can they be?", I asked her. Umm, very very. Since these flours do not contain gluten, it makes rolling, shaping, in fact doing anything with them (except messing up your countertop) difficult!

A quick phone call back home and I got a better alternative, after the inevitable "I told you so" speech - sheera. Shingada flour even in its raw state smells so sweet that I knew the sheera would be delicious. There is nothing much to the recipe as you can see, it is the flour that is the star of this dish. The sheera has a nutty flavor like lapshi, only stronger. It reminded me of temples, poojas and prasad.


SHINGADA PEETHACHA SHEERA (Pudding made with chestnut flour)
(serves 2)
1 cup shingada flour
1/4 cup ghee
1/4 cup sugar or to taste*
a pinch of cardamom powder
a handful of chopped cashews/ almonds/ pistachios/ raisins
1 cup + a little more water

Put water to boil. Heat ghee in a pan, add flour and roast till it turns golden brown and becomes aromatic.

When the water comes to a boil, add to flour along with chopped nuts. Add sugar, mix well and cook for a few minutes. Add cardamom powder and mix again. Serve hot.
* Ladoos can also be made with shingada flour

Blogger Postcards from the World


In this age of email its fun to actually pick a card, write a note and mail it all the way across the world. Well mine isn't going all that far but its fun nevertheless.
I picked up this postcard on our trip to Edinburgh, a city I loved for its old world charm and beautiful architecture. The Edinburgh castle seemed to follow us like a protective chaperone wherever we went in the city, looming large and fairy tale like in the distance. This particular postcard is my favorite because it captures the castle's stony facade perfectly against the blue Scottish skies. Hope my blog buddy likes it too. Meanwhile I am eagerly waiting for my postcard.
Thanks Meeta for hosting this novel event.



Blogger Vineela said...

Hi Ashwini,
Yummy yummy looking sheera.
Good recipe for fasting.
THANKS for sharing.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ashwini,The presentation and the photo are simply superb. I haven't heard of Shingada (may be I have heard of some other name).

2:53 PM  
Blogger KA said...

Great pictures Ashwini! I heard about the singada flour lots of times during navratri season but never knew that its chestnut flour. Thanks to you now I know what it is and what can be made with it..

3:15 PM  
Blogger Manjusha Nimbalkar said...

Hey Ashwiwni,

Wow what a lovely pic.
It is so very well presented that how i wish i culd it eat it just by picking it up from the picture.
You Rock !!

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is no fast, this can only be a feast !!!!

Nice write-up Ashwini. And OMG!! shame on me , never knew the right meaning for "upvaas" until now.

"tastes wonderful - with a sweet, nutty flavor like lapshi, only stronger" - very intriguing recipe ! i have never heard of shingada flour before and definetely would love to try this out. Where can i buy this flour ??

3:22 PM  
Blogger Anupama said...

Ashwini, Thank you for reminding me of this recipe . I have eaten it once at a bhonla and we had to guess what the hostess had made for Khirapat and none of us could. But it was delicious. Too bad i can't get Shingadapeeth in UK

3:40 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Vineela, KA - thanks
Shilpa - thanks. Its commonly known as shingada peeth. Dont know other names
Manjusha - you are very kind :-) Thanks
Priya - you didnt? Shame on you indeed :-D
Its available in almost all Indian grocery stores in the flour section (after kala chana, besan etc). It is usually stored near rajgira and samo. Ask the grocer for upvaas flours.
Anupama - and you reminded me of bhondla with your comment! I love those fun and games. Are you sure you wont get it in the U.K.? I have heard Gujratis also use shingada (for pooris) so it might not be as rare as we think.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a nice write up and such a delicious entry..
Thanks a bunch ashwini...

4:54 PM  
Blogger Tanuja said...

Hi Ashwini,

Its long time I had sheera,thanks for sharing thid dish,good one for fasting times.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Krithika said...

Now I know what to make with this flour. Thank you so much for this recipe.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but I suppose hunger overrode religious sentiment because the rules have relaxed a lot since!"

hahahah.. :) Nice post. Love to read posts like these. Would have loved you more if you made the first one :-)

Didnt even know such flours exist!

6:01 PM  
Blogger Mandira said...

Ashwini, this reminds me of my mom's rotis that she would make for fasting. It has been sooo long since I had this. Looks delicious, thanks for sharing the recipe.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Menu Today said...

Hi Ashwini,
Your "sheera" looks yummy!!! Nice traditional dish post. Thanx for sharing.

8:41 PM  
Blogger author said...

e pahilyanda aiklai he dish...but my husband said he has had this for mhaashivratri...hey where do i get shingada peeth?? and if possible can you mention the brand name of the flour too?

9:11 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Santhi - I loved making this dish. Thanks for hosting
Tanuja, Krithika - thanks; let me know if you try it
LG - thanks! I wish I had the required expertise to make the pancakes
Mandira, MT - thanks
Supriya - phaar lokana mahiti nahiye asa sheera banavta yeto. You get the flour in almost all Indian grocery stores. Look near rajgira flour, vari tandool etc. or ask the grocer for upvaas flours. I have seen them everywhere in the U.S. I used Nirav brand

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice card! I love castles. Nice recipe, too!


10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rules are there to be broken, aren't they? :)

Never heard of this flour. But thanks to your tips, I know where to find it and also has a cool recipe to try. Thanks Ashwini!

10:48 PM  
Blogger bilbo said...

nice post , for both the JFI and the BPW. :)

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad you joined in the postcard event.
Great postcard,
The anticipation is great fun also.

4:33 AM  
Blogger Sumitha said...

This flour is totally new to me Ashwini!Besides great to see you in the BPW event too!

10:44 AM  
Blogger Neelu said...

Hey AShwini what is shingada ? Do we get it in USA ? I have come across many recipes using this flour but i still dont know what it is.
The pic postcard is awesome...the real blue sky with green grass looks sooo soothing n pleasant.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Nabeela said...

you served it so nicely Ashwini. It looks great.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Meeta K. Wolff said...

Ash, thank you for taking part in th BPW. It was a wild one and a fun one. Never imagined so many would take part. Look forward to the next one!

2:54 PM  
Blogger Vaishali said...

I don't believe this!!! I too had chosen this flour for the event. And I was gonna make Shingada Lapshi with it. Alas...the Shingada flour that I got from the SriLankan store here had lots and lots of impurities in it. A few little pebbles got crushed along in the flour, I guess. *Sigh*
I like your post a lot, though. And the postcard is great. It can't be coming my way, because you say that it's not going that far away. :( :( :(

3:13 PM  
Blogger Revathi said...

I have never heard about singada flour. Is it its english name ??

3:49 PM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Neelu check my post, I have linked to the flour brand
Thanks Nabby
Meeta I loved participating in BPW. Good job
Vaish - great minds think alike and all that!!!
Revathi - shingada flour is the marathi name (singoda in hindi) and thats how its available in Indian stores here. The English name is water chestnut flour

4:09 PM  
Blogger archana said...

Thank you for this recipe and a neatly written post. Now i know that i really don't seem to have much idea about flours from dear home !!!!

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm Sheera looks delicious Ashwini! and as usual great write up.Wish i could write like you :-)

5:29 PM  
Blogger K and S said...

pretty card and wonderful recipe.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I would LOVE to visit Edinborough! That is an amazing picture!

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ashwini, chestnut flour pudding looks wonderful! I must look for that flour in the store. Love how you arranged it for the photo :)

7:07 AM  
Blogger Latha said...

Hey Ashwini,

You have such class with your pictures and your style!

I love it!


10:46 AM  
Blogger Nabeela said...

hey Ashwini, head over to my blog and see what I made :)

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so Yummmmmmmmmm...plan to look out for this shingada flour @ grocery store..Ashwini Thanks for sharing yet, another unique dish.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, what a mouth watering, yummy dish. It looks just like my aaji used to make back in Mumbai.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are so right. This has been lots of fun! Beautiful postcard ...

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the postcard! I love that it's an overseas picture with American stamps. ;) I can't wait to dig deeper into your blog...

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Nice recipe I am going to make it tonight.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Deepak Singh said...

do you think in this recepie we can switch the chestnut flour with Buckwheat?? - Raadhaa Canada

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Archana (Vancouver) said...

I was always wondering if there could be any variations in Shingada peeth recipes, other than those items prepared regularly and ultimately found this one. I tried this Sheera just now and it turned out awesome :) Thanks Ashwini.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Anisheetu said...

great recipie... vry nice will surely try...

8:29 AM  

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