Sooji Halwa is sometimes called Indian fudge, along with its cousin, Atta Halwa, which is made with wholewheat flour or chapatti flour. I have many memories of eating one or the other, as a child, in fact I have a very clear memory of seeing my late grandad standing at the stove making this.
Sooji Halwa is extremely easy to do with very few ingredients, and I make mine in exactly the same way as I would the Atta Halwa.
Cooking the semolina slightly longer produces a deeper, almost caramelised taste and definitely a darker colour. Sometimes I only cook it for a couple of minutes because I fancy a lighter result. You can also add the raisins and nuts at stage 6, before adding the syrup in. This way, the nuts and raisins will be incorporated into the halwa but I prefer mine smooth, hence I only use them as garnish.
Ingredients for Sooji Halwa
180g coarse semolina
toasted almond slivers, raisins
300g caster sugar
2 cardamom pods, split
1 tsp rose water
Method for making Sooji Halwa
1. In a small saucepan/milk pan, make the sugar syrup by adding all the syrup ingredients together, apart from the rose syrup.
2. Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve the sugar, then leave to gently simmer while you get the semolina done.
3. In a large frying pan, dry fry the semolina for 3-5 minutes over low flame, until it’s a golden colour and gives off a lovely baked scent. Don’t burn it!
4. Add the ghee, stir thoroughly and cook for another 5-10 minutes, to your fancy, again on a low flame. As mentioned earlier, the longer cooking time will result in a deeper flavour and colour.
5. Turn the heat off for the sugar syrup and stir in the rose water.
6. Now, very slowly, standing slightly away from the cooker (it will splutter), add the sugar syrup in and stir vigorously when it’s all in. Keep stirring until everything comes together and away from the pan.
7. Turn everything onto a serving platter, flatten with the back of a greased spoon (with ghee). I use a simple pasta bowl for this, see above picture.
8. You can either serve it straight out of the dish by slicing it or turn the halwa onto a flat serving dish, it will have taken the shape of the first platter, see picture.
Whichever you decide, sprinkle the raisins and nuts all over before serving.