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Ramadan Recipe Series part 3 – Sooji Halwa (Sweet Semolina)

September 1, 2010

Last night was a particularly auspicious night in the month of Ramadan. The 23rd night of Ramadan, known as Laylat al-Qadr is believed to be the night that the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

The Bohra community regards this important date with a night-long of prayer. And food, to keep the pace of prayers going (you knew I’d be getting to the food didn’t you…) Every household has its own collection of food items that are prepared. At my home, apart from the traditional dried fruits and nuts, sweetened saffron milk, copious amounts of coffee and the star of the night, a Sweet Semolina pudding are served.

Sooji Halwa / Sweet Semolina

Sooji Halwa / Sweet Semolina (forgive the quality of the image!)

Sweet Semolina known as Sooji Halwa in Hindi, is a dish prepared on most auspicious and religious days in my Muslim sub-community. What I find really interesting is, that Hindus, Gujaratis and many other religious communities also prepare this very dessert on their religious occasions. In India, the food of every religious group really lends from one another. It goes without saying then, that the lady of an Indian household must know how to prepare this dish.

But apart from its religious significance, it is a truly delicious and nutritious dessert. Semolina, as we all know is made from wheat. What also goes in, is saffron, sliced dried nuts and raisins, all cooked together with milk and sugar. Here’s how you make it:

To make Sooji Halwa for 2-3 people, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup fine Semolina – you will get the coarse and the fine variety in grocery stores. Buy the fine semolina
  • A mixture of 1/2 cup water and 1 cup milk, mixed and kept aside
  • 1/2 cup ghee or clarified butter
  • 4 tbsp of sugar, or more to taste
  • A pinch of saffron for color and fragrance(optional)
  • Sliced almonds and pistachios, as per preference
  • A few golden raisins


  • In a saucepan, bring the water and milk mixture to a boil, with the sugar and saffron. The milk will turn a lovely amber color because of the saffron
  • In another pot, heat the ghee to medium-high heat. Once heated, toast the semolina in it on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the semolina is a light brown and very fragrant
  • Turn off the heat, and slowly add the milk mixture, stirring simultaneously. Turn the heat back on low and keep stirring, breaking any lumps that are formed. Keep cooking until the volume of the semolina reduces, and the ghee starts to separate from the sides of the pot.
  • If you feel the semolina needs some more water to cook, add a little cold water and continue to cook till the semolina is fully fluffed and cooked. To know whether the semolina is cooked, its should taste soft like pasta. If it has a bite to it, the semolina needs more cooking
  • Garnish with sliced nuts and raisins. Serve warm
13 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2010 11:55 am

    I usually add just water but I guess milk will make the halwa more rich and creamy. Nice addition Sabera! Halwa is my family’s favorite.

    • September 2, 2010 12:35 pm

      Yes the milk does add a different dimension to the halwa. Wish I could make this more often!

  2. Aamer permalink
    September 1, 2010 7:18 pm

    I put in some almonds or walnuts to the ghee or oil before adding semolina and sometimes leave out saffron. Try it — the nutty flavour is delicious.

    • September 2, 2010 12:36 pm

      That’s an interesting suggestion Aamer.. must try it out. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. journeykitchen permalink
    September 2, 2010 1:56 am

    So cool of you Sabera to make it. I’m just mostly worried about catching up all the sleep before the big night 🙂 and besides i think it must be a mumbai thing to make sooji ka halwa specifically on 23rd ? coz we dont make it.But who’s gonna say no to such yumminess! 🙂

    • September 2, 2010 12:36 pm

      Hehe… yes making the halwa is something that’s done only in my family because everyone loves it so much. Hope you had a good 23rd night!

      • September 2, 2010 1:57 pm

        This looks delicious! I don’t have too much of a sweet tooth but I’ll try out your recipe for the benefit of my husband.

  4. September 3, 2010 8:30 am

    interesting use of fine semolina, never had it like this and it looks tempting. Hope all is well!

    • September 3, 2010 3:49 pm

      Hey Sarah! Good to know you’re familiar with semolina. How do you prepare it?

  5. Thavash permalink
    September 18, 2010 12:18 am

    Thank you, this is a delicious and really simple recipe. Kids love it. Made it at the start of our one month vegetarian fast – purtassi. Have a feeling it is going to be a frequent request.

  6. myninjanaan permalink
    December 5, 2013 9:32 am

    Can I please tell you just how much I love this recipe? Not just me, my 2.5 year old son loves it too! I love that you incorporate milk in this, as opposed to most other recipes that use lots of oil/ghee.
    I made a blogpost about it… I hope I’ve made you proud 🙂


  1. Semolina (Sooji) Halwa For All The Mommas | My Ninja Naan

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