In the early hours of one morning many years ago, two friends watching movies felt really famished and the only moorish thing they could think of satisfying them was the suji halwa. So that’s how my friend Joan and I ended up cooking this yummy halwa at 3 am in the morning to satisfy our hunger. I never learn’t how to make suji halwa from my mum. I learnt the art of making halwa by observing her and other female relatives. As a young girl, I used to observe women cooking in the kitchen or for prayer function such as annual pooja at home or at relative’s home. I used to carefully observed each stage taken to prepare various dishes, method applied to get the perfect kheer, halwa, puri and vegetable curries. Each technique and method applied to ensure the food turned tasty and delicious. Over the years I experimented and came up with this recipe of suji halwa. I make the suji halwa with milk because it gives halwa the rich taste but you can omit milk and used water instead.
Suji/Sooji Halwa (Semolina sweet)
1 cup semolina (coarse or fine) (I find coarse semolina tastes better)
1 ½ cup milk
6-8 tablespoons sugar (or more depends on how sweet you want this to be)
Cardamom seeds from two Cardamom pods
A pinch of powdered nutmeg
1 & 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter) (can use unsalted butter or margarine but this give a different taste, ghee gives a richer taste)
A handful of sultanas
Almond flakes (Optional)
Before cooking the halwa have all your ingredients organised and ready to be used. Heat the ghee in a pot or non-stick pan/wok. Once the ghee is hot, reduce the heat slightly and added 1 cup of semolina. Fry the semolina gradually in the ghee. The aim is to roast the semolina until it becomes slightly golden in colour. Take care that the semolina do not get burnt or become too dark in colour since this will give a burnt taste and smell to the halwa. As the semolina fries, gradually add the cardamom seeds. Once the semolina had turned the desired colour add the sultanas, sugar and the milk. (Here you need to lower the heat and carefully add these ingredients from the edge of the pot so you don’t get burn) Lower the heat and gradually cook the semolina mixture, stirring it slowly. Add the pinch of nutmeg as you stir the halwa. As it cooks, the mixture will lose the watery texture and slowly become more firm in texture. This is the indication that the halwa is ready. Give the halwa mixture a stir and remove it from the stove. Let it cool for few minutes and then serve. For decoration, you can also add almonds flake if desired. Almonds chunk or diced pieces can also be added to the halwa mixture while it is cooking. Enjoy.