Thursday, 20 November 2014

Sooji Halwa - Pakistani style Semolina Halwa

Semolina Halwa was amongst the first few things I learnt to cook primarily because it took less time to cook and I loved its mild sweetness. I wasn’t much of a halwa puri breakfast fan as the fried pooris dont sit very well with my tummy. The halwa however if homemade, was my favorite with tea in cold winter afternoons. 

Semolina halwa is also especially cooked in Pakistan on Prophet Muhammad's birthday and distributed amongst neighbors and poor households. Given the Prophet was born and passed away on the same day, in the morning the sweet Semolina halwa is cooked to mark the celebration of his birth. In the evening a salty, savory rice pilaf is cooked to mark his passing. This is a Pakistani tradition i particularly miss while being an expatriate Pakistani.

I am on an extended stay in Pakistan these days and the approaching winters are making me long for things I had long forgotten. M insisted that I should make some halwa as she was dying to have some.....which i did. So here is the recipe.

Semolina – 1 cup
Sugar ½ cup
Whole Milk – 2 ½ cups
Butter – 100 grams
Egg – 1
Dried coconut – 3-4 tbsp - flaked
Raisins – 12-14
Almonds – 12-14 – chopped
Edible Silver -2-3 leaves


  1. Melt the butter in a pan and add Semolina to it. Mix it. It will become like wet sand.
  2. Cook on high heat till semolina changes color and you can smell fragrance of the cooked semolina. It’s similar to cooked flour in butter for b├ęchamel sauce.
  3. Add raisins to semolina.
  4. Mix half the milk with the beaten egg. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk-egg mixture and mix vigorously. Put the pan back on high heat and mix further. Now add the remaining milk and sugar. Mix further. 
  5. Keep mixing till the milk dries up and the halwa starts sticking together like a bread loaf. This would take about 3-5 mins.
  6. Remove from the heat and take it out in a tray lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly and let it cool. The cooking time for halwa is about 15 mins in all.
  7. Once cooled, sprinkle with chopped almonds and coconut. Cut in bite size pieces and dress them with edible silver.

Serve warm with tea.