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Kesari Bhath


Kesari Bhath

  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Serves: 2 to 4 people
  • Spice Level: Zero

Authenticity Slice

The traditional trick to getting that refreshing orange-yellow colour is soaking the kesar strands in warm water for some time. This helps the kesar lend its brilliant colour to the dish. One can even add this water to the sugar syrup. For additional flavour, you could add a dash of elaichi powder to the mix.

Trivia Tadka

Kesari Bhath is Karnataka’s famous festival sweet dish, made especially during Ugadi, the new year day.  ‘Kesari’ means ‘saffron’, which is what is used to give this dessert its unique orangish-yellow bright hue and lovely flavour.  The interesting thing about this Bhath is that inspite of it being a sweet dish, it is cooked in Kannadiga homes as a breakfast staple. It is also often served along with Uppittu or Khara Bhath, with both dishes scooped up side-by-side in equal quantities. This combination is popularly known as ‘Chow Chow Bhath’.


  • Semolina (rava/sooji) (½ cup)
  • Sugar (½ cup)
  • Saffron (kesar) strands (3 to 4)
  • Cashew nuts (kaju), roughly chopped (1 tbsp)
  • Green cardamom (hari elaichi) powder (½ tsp)
  • Desi ghee (½ cup)
  • Water (1½ cup)


  • Heat a kadhai on a high flame and dry-roast the rava till it starts to change colour. This will take about 5 to 6 minutes. Take it out on a plate and keep aside to cool.
  • In the same kadhai, heat the ghee on a low flame. Add the cashews and fry them till they turn golden brown.
  • Add water to the cashews and bring it to a boil. Take out 2 tbsp of this boiling water in a small bowl and soak the kesar in it. Keep aside for 2 minutes and then pour it back into the boiling water in the kadhai. Add the sugar and stir thoroughly.
  • Next, tip in the elaichi powder and stir.
  • Carefully and slowly, add in the rava. Keep stirring continuously till it has absorbed all the water and no lumps remain.
  • Continue stirring till the ghee starts to separate from the sides.
  • Turn off the flame and transfer the Kesari Bhath to a serving bowl.
  • Serve piping hot.

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