Basbousa

A traditional Arabic cuisine call it Egyptian, Lebanese (nammoura), or Turkish (revani ),  this dessert with a typical rosewater flavor or orange blossom flavor, is a favorite in Arabic homes. Typically made from semolina and most often with coconut it is soaked in sugar syrup and is savored by all! It is somewhat similar to kesari (sooji ka halwa)  made in Indian homes most often. Unlike our dessert that is cooked over fire (shall soon post a traditional recipe and one that is  made  in microwave mode) this is baked and gives a grainy texture. Baking makes the dish simpler as one does not have to keep stirring strenuously to get a smooth mix as in  cooking over the flame.

Often egg is used in this dessert for softness; this dish being eggless, yogurt was used for the spongy texture. If need be a little milk can also be used. The measure given here makes about 35 to 40 pieces.

Basbousa

Ingredients

Semolina 2½ cups

All purpose flour 1 tbsp

Dessicated coconut 2 tbsp or freshly grated coconut  ½ cup

Caster sugar 1 cup

Melted butter ¼ cup (2 tbsp) + 1 tsp for roasting semolina

Vanilla essence  ¼ tsp

Yogurt 1 cup (thick)

Baking soda  1 tsp

For the syrup

Sugar 1 cup

Water  1 cup

Rose water  1 tsp or rose essence ½ tsp

Lemon juice 1 tsp

Sliced almond 20

Method

  • Roast the semolina in butter in a heavy-bottomed pan till it changes color slightly. Transfer it to a bowl and add the other ingredients viz sugar, yogurt, butter, coconut, baking soda, and essence. Mix well with a spatula to get a smooth mix. If the mix looks very thick loosen it with milk to get a thick batter consistency.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C while working on the mix.
  • Grease a 12″ × 8″ baking tray and layer the tray with the batter. Let the tray have  a ½” space for the mix to rise. Cut squares of 2″ × 2″ with a thick knife and arrange the sliced almonds in the center of each square. Leave the tray in the oven at 200°C  for 30 minutes or  a little longer till the surface turns golden brown.

To enhance the caramelized look, brush the surface with milk half-way through baking.

Fresh from oven
Fresh from oven
  • While the mix is getting baked make the sugar syrup by adding water to sugar in a pan and boiling on low flame till the sugar melts. When the syrup starts boiling switch off the flame and add rose water and lemon juice and let the syrup cool.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and pour the syrup over the hot bake so that it gets soaked in the syrup. bake for another 5 minutes and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Leave the cooled tray in the refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes before separating the pieces.
  • Savor the flavor of rose and enjoy!

IMG_1892

Chef’s note

In case you have orange blossom water use the same in place of rose water.

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