Many Tastes of the Semolina Grains

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.

Monish Gujral

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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