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
Semolina and Raisin Pudding
makes 6 to 8 servings
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.
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.
Links Related to Suji Halwa:
- Cooking video at Manjula’s Kitchen
- Recipe variation at Aayi’s Recipes
- Homemade ghee at A Smart Mouth