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.