Suji Halwa – Indian Semolina and Raisin Pudding

Sooji Halwa - Semolina Raisin Pudding with Cream

Cooking suji halwa is a lot like preparing risotto, but with a lot less stirring. Coarse-ground semolina is first toasted and rendered aromatic in ghee, the Indian version of clarified butter. Raisins and a simple syrup are then poured over the semolina and stirred over low heat until the sweet liquid is fully absorbed.

Since the semolina is first coated in ghee, the semolina puffs up as it absorbs some of the syrup but remain separate, resembling tiny grains barely clinging to each other. I’ve been avoiding this word because one of the most important figures in my life have full dentures, but it really is appropriate in this case — suji halwa has a pleasing toothsome texture. Other people avoid the word for different reasons.

Finished off simply with ground cardamom, a spice I’ve developed an intense liking to through Indian sweets, this warm dessert pudding is always a good option as the mercury dips.

recipe adapted from Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking

Suji Halwa
Semolina and Raisin Pudding

makes 6 to 8 servings

Sooji Halwa - Semolina and Cardamom Pods
Green cardamom pods on semolina

10 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons seedless raisins

3/4 cup ghee or clarified butter
3/4 semolina, also known as rava, farina, or Cream of Wheat
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

heavy cream (optional)
chopped nuts such as almonds or pistachios (optional)


  • The semolina used in this recipe has a coarse and sandy texture similar to cornmeal.

Raisin Syrup Instructions:

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and stir continuously over low heat. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, stir in the raisins and remove from the heat.

Semolina Pudding Instructions:

Heat the ghee over medium heat in a wide skillet, preferably non-stick. Once the ghee is very hot, add the semolina. It will sizzle slightly.

While stirring constantly, toast the semolina over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

Pour the cardamom and raisin syrup over the semolina while mixing vigorously. Bring the pudding to a boil and set the heat to low. While stirring continuously, cook the pudding over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the syrup is fully absorbed.

Sprinkle with ground cardamom and remove from the heat.

To Serve:

Serve hot or at room temperature. Top with heavy cream and chopped nuts if desired.


Suji halwa keeps well in the refrigerator for several weeks and can also be frozen.

Sooji Halwa - Semolina Raisin Pudding

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35 Responses to “Suji Halwa – Indian Semolina and Raisin Pudding”

  1. Meeta says:

    My grandmother used to make this all the time. It#s something I often remember – I have never made this myself at home for fear I might spoil the memories of this dish! but Jude you have inspired me!

  2. Ivy says:

    We also make halwa in Greece but it’s totally different as we use olive oil instead of ghee and cinnamon for flavouring. I love cardamom and would like to give this a try soon.

  3. Arundathi says:

    Jude, that looks great. The photo of the cardamom on the semolina is gorgeous.
    And I loved Ivy’s idea of using olive oil instead of ghee – might cut the calories down quite a bit!

  4. Caitlin says:

    That sounds amazingly comforting, and so much more interesting than Cream of Wheat :P

  5. Rosa says:

    A wonderful dish! I really like this delightful dessert! A luxurious version of cream of wheat



  6. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    How really interesting that semolina behaves this way! Cardamom was a most surprising spice when I first discovered it. I guess I still feel it’s a little more magic than most. I love the way it adds sweet without sugar.

  7. Núria says:

    Hola! This dish brings me back some memories… I only ate semola (that’s how we call it here) when I was a kid and my mom used to pour it in the chicken stock. Never ate it again! The different use you give it is so interesting!

  8. Natashya says:

    I remember Cream of Wheat from when I was little. I didn’t know it was semolina!
    Your dish looks great – I would eat it for breakie on a snowy day. So comforting. I love cardamom too.

  9. Natashya says:

    Oh, ps. Anna Olson is a Canadian (pastry) chef on Food Network Canada.

  10. maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) says:

    this is one of my favorites around here. looks yum.

  11. Nicisme says:

    This is a glorious recipe, something I would love to eat!

  12. Marvin says:

    This looks so good and filling! I know you said it’s a dessert, but it even looks like it would make for a good breakfast.

  13. Mike says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had this dessert before, but I’d really like to try it…and Indian desserts have long been something I’d like to learn more about. It sounds great…and also, lol about the “toothsome” comment

  14. Madam Chow says:

    Jude, you are quite gastronomically diverse! I love seeing what you’re up to!

  15. Megan says:

    This looks so delicious! I could eat this for breakfast!

  16. Andrea says:

    Oh that looks so good. I love Indian desserts, but I’m a bit intimidated by Indian cooking in general. I’ve made risotto so perhaps I should give this a try. I think I read about Julie Sahni on your blog before, and I’ve thumbed through a few of her books, which look great. I’ll keep an eye out for semolina!

  17. Faery says:

    Wow I was looking for this recipe (home made) this looks so delicious, thank you thank you thank you :D
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your nice comments.

  18. noobcook says:

    This is so unique to me… you’re really versatile in the kitchen :)

  19. Adam says:

    Hooray for Cream of Wheat, but this is fancy kicked up style :) I usually have it for breakfast, but this is a fantastic dessert. I love the raisins and the spice that goes along for the ride.

  20. snookydoodle says:

    Nice. I bet the smell is amazing :) Helwa in maltese means sweet. I think its a derivative.

  21. lauren says:

    Ooh my mom makes this for special occasions! I love it. Except she uses milk instead of water. Another traditional variation is adding crushed pineapple to it. Thanks for the recipe, looks like I’ll have to make a batch myself soon.

  22. Miri says:

    Dear Jude, this pudding looks oh so comforting, rich and great for a chilly autumn evening. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Kevin says:

    I like the sound of this semolina pudding!

  24. PG says:

    I think you have given this simple Indian pudding such an elegant touch with your pictures. Looks very tempting!
    It is one of my favorite home made sweetdishes – with raisins ofcourse. Infact recently I tried to take some pictures of the one i had made. Those were so bad that I dropped the idea of posting about it! Maybe next time.

  25. Carm says:

    Mmmmm that looks delish! Yummo ;)

  26. yasmeen says:

    Another Crowd pleasing recipe ,delicious!.

  27. White On Rice Couple says:

    I’m a sucker for delicious pudding like this! I’d love a big bowl of it! Lovely cardamom pictures too!

  28. Trisha says:

    Dessert? I was kind of thinking breakfast. Looks wonderful.

  29. Christine says:

    This looks wonderfull! I will make it for Bookmarked events this coming Monday

  30. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Never had anything like this before so am very intrigued. Am confused though: is it chewy or puddinglike? Not quite sure what toothsome means.

  31. Thanks guys! It does seem a bit like breakfast, doesn’t it?

    Js, It has a bit of a grainy texture. Each of the semolina grains have a bit of bite to it.

  32. Адриан says:

    Можно и подискутировать по этому поводу … :)

  33. VILMA says:

    Thanks… Still an additional incredible picture, this really is precisely why I returned to all your wordpress bog time and again…

  34. Anne says:

    I love sujji halwa. This looks awesome. I will try it on Monday morning. Thanks.

  35. Trevor Partipilo says:

    15. Just want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is just cool and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

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