Afghan Sooji (Semolina) Halwa

Serves     6


2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Saffron, a pinch
½ teaspoon cardomom powder
1 cup semolina
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons raisins
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons pistachios

Sauce pan


Toast the raisins, slivered almonds, and pistachios on low heat. Set aside.

To the sauce pan on high heat, add 2 cups water. When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and forms a syrup like consistency. Add the saffron and cardamom powder to the syrup and stir. Set the sugar syrup aside.

Set the skillet on medium flame. When the skillet is hot, add the cup of semolina and stir. A fair amount of stirring is required to ensure that the semolina is toasted. It should lose its raw flour aroma and gain a slighty nutty flavor. Care should be taken to ensure that the semolina doesn’t burn.

When the semolina is toasted, add the butter and stir to combine. Stir until the semolina and butter mixture is completely combined. At this point it will be a little crumb-like.

Add the sugar syrup, a little at a time and quickly stir until it is fully combined and has a silky, pudding-like consistency (think polenta, but a little thinner).

Remove from the heat. The pudding will set as it sits.

Garnish with the toasted dried fruit and nuts. This dish be served warm or cold, scooped into ramekins or on to dessert plates, or allowed to set in molds and served.


Notes and Instructions

Recipe and photo credit: Vinola V. Munyon