This weekend past, I decided to tackle the huge packet of semolina (a strange purchase) that has been taking up precious space in our kitchen cupboard since we moved in. “Either I make something semolina-based or it has to go,” I said to The Heid. “Any suggestions?”
“Semolina? Yuk,” he replied helpfully (and I kind of agreed). But, just then, I caught sight of a recipe on the back of the packet – for ‘Semolina and Almond Halwa’. I’d never heard of halwa, but, loathe to throw the whole thing out, and with the ingredients all seemingly to hand, I set about making it anyway.
Turns out semolina does have a purpose in life: halwa, and this is not only very easy and quick to make, but absolutely delicious – a sort of sweet, milky cake that’s apparently very popular in India. We’ve been eating it all week, and now it’s all finished, The Heid wants me to make more! Yuk indeed….
Semolina and Almond Halwa with cardamom, raisins and cinnamon
200g Natco Fine Semolina
150g butter ghee
1 pint milk
50g ground almonds
5 cardamom pods ground (shell removed)
Handful of raisins
What to do with them
Crush the cardamom pods (a pestle and mortar is helpful here), pick out the shell and crush again so the cardamom is well ground.
If you haven’t been able to buy butter ghee, you can make it. (I followed the advice of Sala Kannan on her excellent blog, Veggie Belly. See How to Make Ghee)
Once you have made the ghee, put to one side. In a saucepan, pour in the milk, sugar and cardamoms and bring to the boil before putting this to one side.
Melt (if required) your ghee over a medium heat. Mix in the semolina and stir continuously for seven minutes until lightly browned (mine didn’t really go brown, but it didn’t seem to matter).
Add ground almonds and raisins and stir for 30 seconds.
Gently pour in the milk mixture stirring continuously for four minutes until thick and on the verge of turning solid.
Transfer to a greased serving dish (I used a round cake tin, 25cm in diameter). If it’s all looking a bit wan (it tastes better than it looks!), sprinkle some cinnamon or crushed pistachios over the top to add colour before cutting into serving pieces and eating hot or cold*.
*This should be kept refrigerated and eaten within the sell by date of the milk used if you are keeping it for several days.
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