Sooji ka Halwa is a Pakistani and Indian dessert made with semolina. This is a simple, classic recipe for a categorically easy dessert. All you need are 5 essential ingredients and 20 minutes! Tested to perfection!
TOP 5 TIPS TO MAKE SOOJI KA HALWA
Sooji ka halwa is considered the one of the easiest of all Indian & Pakistani desserts. But when I first started cooking, I had no idea how to transform the packet of coarse, ivory-colored flour into the miraculous, tender mass of beads that is Sooji Ka Halwa.
In fact, back then it took me a couple (okay, several) tries to perfect this recipe.
I’ll go on to embarrass myself by pretty much giving away the many ways in which I messed it up:
- Embrace stirring. Seriously, you’re going to be stirring constantly.
- Thoroughly roast the semolina over low-ish heat until you no longer have to question whether it’s roasted.
- This will demand patience. And stirring.
- Boil the sugar and water mixture separately instead of throwing it in with the browned semolina. (Those old-school methods had some deep logic steeped into them.)
- Do not skimp on the butter or ghee. Not only are they natural fats approved by ancients,
- but this recipe’s amount is actually on the lower end. 😇
- For traditional texture, use fine, not coarse, semolina.
WHAT IS SOOJI KA HALWA?
Halwa, which comes from the Arabic root “helw”, means “sweet”, is said to be Persian in origin.
Though most people associate halwa with the Middle Eastern confectionery, halwa in the South Asian context is essentially the transformation of an ingredient into a dessert.
Halwa can be made with everything from carrots, to nuts, or even dal. Sooji halwa is halwa made from semolina, or flour made from ground Durum Wheat.
2 TYPES OF SOOJI HALWA
Though the basic method for making Sooji ka Halwa is the same, there are two prominent versions of it.
- Regular Sooji Halwa: This simple, homemade version is the one I’m sharing. It’s made with all kinds of variations and add-ons such as nuts and raisins. Unlike restaurant halwa, this one is naturally wheat colored and usually served for dessert.
- SoojiHalwa for Halwa Puri: This restaurant-style halwa is served for brunch. It’s eaten alongside a spicy Chana Masala and a tangy potato curry with pooris or parathas. In comparison to the homemade version, the restaurant version is:
- Roasted for a shorter time, so it doesn’t have the deep, wheat-color.
- More liquidy.
- Usually orange-colored due to food coloring, which is added to the sugar syrup.
- More oily, as are most restaurant versions of traditional foods.
- Also try our Gajar ka Halwa
SOOJI KA HALWA
- 1 Sauce Pan
- ½ cup unsalted butter or ghee, See Note 1
- 1 cup fine semolina, sooji
- 21/2 cups fine semolina, sooji
- ¾ cup raw cane sugar or turbinado (demerara) sugar, See Note 3
- 5 cardamom pods, slightly cracked open
- ½ tsp rose water
- pinch saffron strands, lightly crushed between your fingers, optional
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds, for garnish (optional)
- Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter or ghee and once it melts, immediately add the semolina (sooji).
- Cook the semolina, stirring frequently, until it roasts evenly and turns deep golden in color (~12-14 min). Depending on your stovetop, you may need to raise the heat to help it come to the roasting point. Then lower the heat if needed. Meanwhile, start with the sugar syrup.
- In a small to medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and cardamom pods to a simmer. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat. Add the rose water and saffron, if using.
- Add the sugar syrup carefully into the browned semolina. Continue to stir for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture thickens and the butter starts to separate from the semolina. Sometimes I like to add a tablespoon of ghee at this point to give it a nice finish.
- Garnish with slivered almonds. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. If you're not serving immediately, store in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
Note 2: The amount of water will determine the texture. If you want it to be more grainy to be eaten alone, you can use as little as 2 cups of water. If you want softer and thicker halwa like the one used for ‘halwa poori’, use up to 3 cups of water. 2.5 cups is a happy medium.
Note 3: Keep in mind the sweetness level will vary depending on the sugar you use.
Sweeteners: You can also use plain, granulated sugar or even light brown sugar.
If you want it sweeter, you can always add 1-2 tbsp after adding the sugar syrup to the sooji.