Sooji Ka Halwa- arguably the dessert that holds the most nostalgia for Desi folks (people originating from the South Asian Subcontinent).
Sooji ka Halwa is one of those desserts that everyone’s mother or grandmother lovingly made. It is a dessert that has stood the test of time, and continues to be cherished by generations of South Asians. It can be whipped up on a moment’s notice, and is as delicious at room temperature as it is piping hot.
The bones of the recipe are similar from family to family, with variations coming from the amounts of the ingredients used. Generally speaking, semolina is gently roasted in regular or clarified butter, to which sugar and liquid (usually water or milk, or a combination of both) are added. How long the halwa is cooked is also something that differs, as some folks like their halwa soft, and some like theirs with a bit more bite.
The recipe I am sharing today is for a halwa that has melt-in-your-mouth texture, just the right amount of sweetness, and comes together quick for those sudden cravings. It’s one of my eldest son’s favorite recipes, and my hope is that it will soon become one of yours too.
Pakistani Semolina Pudding / Sooji Ka Halwa
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon saffron, slightly crushed with fingers, optional
- ½ cup clarified butter or unsalted butter
- 8 green cardamoms
- 1 cup semolina
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, cashews, or pistachios, optional
Combine milk, water, sugar, and saffron in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
Melt butter in a large vessel over medium low heat. Add cardamoms and semolina, and gently roast until gold and fragrant, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Gently add milk mixture, while exercising caution as the milk will sputter when added to the semolina. Gently stir to avoid any lumps from forming. Cook and stir until the liquid has been absorbed, and the halwa starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove from heat and garnish with nuts.
Serve warm or at room temperature.