Friday, March 26, 2010

Sooji Halwa

"Everything in moderation, including moderation." --Julia Child

This is my favorite quote from one of my favorite chefs, and pretty much sums up my attitude towards food. Yes, I know that moderation is the key to staying healthy and still being able to enjoy rich foods and sweet desserts, and I'm all for it. But sometimes a girl (and by girl I mean me), just needs to sit down and pig out on dessert, and not feel like she's committed a sin. I know they say to eat until you are just satisfied, but sometimes I'm not satisfied until I know I'm over-satisfied. Sometimes I'm not full until I'm over-full. Sometimes moderation just does not cut it.

Sooji halwa is a very popular Indian dessert, often translated as 'semolina pudding'. It is the kind of dessert that you can eat a whole lot of without feeling the need to throw up or run a marathon afterward. It is light but extremely satisfying, sweet but not overly so, creamy but not too rich - all in all, the perfect dessert for assuaging all those sweet cravings that beg for more than just a few little bites.

Sooji Halwa (Semolina Pudding)
*1/4 cup butter
*1 cup semolina (cream of wheat)
*2 bay leaves
*1 cup sugar
*pinch of salt
*1/2 cup water
*1 cup milk
*1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
*1/2 cup raisins
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts, almonds, pistachios, or cashews (or a combination)

1. In a large skillet (cast iron works well), melt the butter over medium heat.
2. Add the semolina and bay leaves, and cook for about 7-8 minutes until the semolina is reddish-brown in color but not burnt! Stir constantly, being careful not to burn it.
3. Add the sugar, and stir for about 15-20 seconds. Add the salt, water, milk, cardamom, raisins, and nuts, and stir for about 2 minutes. The mixture should still be somewhat wet.
4. Remove from heat and serve.


  1. The photo isn't showing up. It sounds good, though. I've never heard of it.

  2. Wow - sooji halwa looks delicious... one of my favorites!

  3. Looks good. Was it like ma's or no?

  4. I haven't tried this but it looks like a delicious dessert. Thanks for sharing. MaryMoh at

  5. The quote reminds me of Oscar Wild who said he could resist anything but temptation ;)

    This pudding looks fantastic and very fragrant.

  6. Bay leaves are such an interesting ingredient in your semolina pudding!
    I love your photo!

  7. Excellent quote, and so true. Love the pudding too! :)

  8. Cardamom-infused desserts just make my day. Plus I love anything that resembles pudding. So this looks fantastic.

    I'm all about moderation. All kinds. Even moderate moderation. That's my favorite kind.

  9. Sooji is such a versatile ingredient. Love the sound of this halva, it reminds me of a suji cake recipe I've got floating around somewhere. Cardamom and cashews really make this dish, mmmm..

  10. I absolutely love that Julia Child quote, but I always try to read too deeply into it and interpret it to mean that I can overindulge...LOL

  11. My friend made something similar (as a cake) for his son's birthday!

  12. This has to be the very BEST looking bowl of cream of wheat Ive ever seen!!! Im wishing I had THIS for breakfast!! :)

  13. I saw this at Tastespotting! Congrats! Mine always gets rejected bc of "composition" whatever that means...

    I've made semolina cake before, but never a pudding...this really sounds interesting!

  14. Hope my local health food store sells Sooji Halwa. This recipe reminds me of a somewhat similar Indian dessert that my coworker made one time. I wonder if it's the same thing.

  15. Good Morning, Ms. Meanie. I could so eat a bowl of that Sooji Halwa with my coffee right now-looks wonderful. I made some savory sooji pudding the other night by the way-pretty good it was. Yours looks better (smile)...

  16. That is a lovely dessert I adore!



  17. I think it would be great for breakfast...if you happened to be in the mood for a sweet one! I have to make this one for sure!

  18. This looks like a fabulous dessert. Delicious and not awful for you!

  19. Indian desserts are so intriguing to me. I never had one and they all look so colorful and different. And this one sounds too good to be true: satisfying, creamy, and sweet yet light and not overpowering? What more could a dessert-craving woman ask for? Thanks MsMeanie.

  20. Oh, I forgot to mention that I looooooove the bowl in the picture. And the picture itself, it's just perfect with the light and the spoon and the sparkling white dishes.