Basboosa (Arabian Semolina Based Baked Dessert)

11:41 AM

This Semolina based, curd soaked, coconut sprinkled, syrup drenched, rose flavoured dessert belongs to the land of saffron and mystery called Arabia. The best part of this cake is its light texture which when combined with the true Mediterranean flavour of rose syrup surely will transport to the era of Arabian Nights.

This baked semolina dessert is available throughout the Mediterranean countries in different names. In Greece they call it ‘Ravani’ where as in North it is known as ‘Revani’. In levantine Arabic countries this is also called as ‘Hareesa’. In Ezypt they call it Basbousa.

I first tasted this dessert at the ‘Mezze’ counter in the Polynation food court. They serve some amazing Middle Eastern dishes and we love to eat at their place after our weekend veggie shopping. One such day after stuffing ourseleves with their amazing array of pita bread, Baba ganoush, kebbeh, falafel and tzatziki  we still wanted some dessert. They had only two desserts at that time, Baklava and this Basboosa. Hubby is not very fond of Baklava so thought of giving it a try. The first spoonful was enough to make us crave some more and finally we ended up eating two plates of this divine dessert. Recently when we were again there we wanted to have this dessert but to our utter dismay it was so bad that after having a single bite we wanted to throw it to the bin. Though the other dishes are still very good but don’t know why the dessert became that bad.

Now, the kind of food-o-holic I am, it meant I had to try it myself. Then on the day of ID when a childhood friend of mine planned to visit us for evening tea I knew the time had arrived. So, After some googling and youtube videos I finalized on this recipe from Yasmeen’s. She didn’t use any nuts in the batter but I wanted to recreate it exactly the way I loved it so decided to add some roasted almonds to it. The whole preparation, baking and soaking is as easy as 1-2-3 and finally when I served the first piece to Hubby he ate, smiled and patted my back. My friends and another collegue who visited us that day all loved it. And I love it so much that after that I again have baked it yesterday…as this beautifully aromatic dessert is something am going to make again and again.

(Makes 16 squares)

For the cake:
Semolina: 11/2 cups (don’t use the fine variety, little coarse semolina gives it the best texture)
Curd: ¾ cup
Sugar: 6 tbsp (better to use powdered sugar as it dissolves quickly)
Grated coconut: ½ cup
Chopped roasted almonds: 4 tbsp
Ghee/butter: 2 tbsp
Baking powder: ¾ tsp
Rose water or rose essence
Some almonds for decoration
For the syrup:
Sugar: ¼ cup
Lemon: ½
Water: ½ cup
Rose essence

Preheat the oven at 175 C.

In a big bowl beat the yogurt till smooth. Add 1/3-cup water to it. In this add the semolina, coconut, sugar and ghee. If needed add more water. The batter would be very thick. Mix it properly and keep covered for 10 minutes.

Then add the chopped almonds, baking powder and rose essence. Give it a good mix and pour in a greased baking dish. (I used a square bowl).

Spread the thick batter evenly and then decorate with whole almonds.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

In the mean time make the syrup by mixing all ingredients in a bowl and boiling it for 4-5 minutes or till the syrup is little thick.

When the Basboosa is done and still in the pan, cut the cake in squares. Pour the warm syrup on top and let it soak the flavored syrup at-least for an hour.

Serve with tea, coffee or rose drink.

A Homemaker’s Note:
I first made it with little coarse semolina then second time baked it with fine variety. We liked the first one more than the second.

Though the original recipe does not call for soaking of the semolina but I did to make the grains a little soft. Also added the almonds just before baking to keep the crunch.

You can substitute almond with any other nuts like cashews or pista.


This heavenly dessert is off to AWED: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This month hosted at Kitchen Samraj.

and also to Champa's Bake off event at Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen.

to DMBLGIT this month hosted at Cafe Lynnulu.

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