Many Tastes of the Semolina Grains

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I remember growing up with my mother fussing over our having doodh suji (milk boiled with semolina, sugar and cardamom topped with blanched almonds) in winters for breakfast. Desi ghee-laden suji halwa was also served occasionally. The favourite suji golgappas at Bengali Market in Delhi is such a treat. Suji is a versatile cereal which can be used in numerous recipes.

Recently, I tasted a semolina cake which is popular all around the Mediterranean. This Algerian dessert is made by mixing semolina with milk, sugar and eggs. In India, semolina is called suji, and I love suji halwa or ever suji pani puri .

I came across this Mediterranean cake when I was visiting Greece and one of my Algerian friends made the cake for his birthday as he wanted to have a traditional birthday. He later told me that there are many varieties of this cake, and is also sometimes made like a halwa. It is soft from inside with a slightly chewy and crusty exterior.

On some coaxing, I was able to get this special recipe from him which, he said, was an old traditional recipe from his ancestral village.

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First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

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