For Good Luck on Your Wedding Day: Sooji Halva (Semolina Pudding)
Recipe and Photos by: Sonia Leung
Restaurant Baby (RB) #3 tied the knot in May of 2011. She was the first in our family to marry. If there was one thing Mom made sure of, it was for RB#3 to marry with all the luck and good wishes. Mom consulted relatives, and friends – especially those with an elderly at home, on our hometown Chinese wedding traditions. As it turns out, RB#3’s mother-in-law (Auntie K) was also doing the same.
On the day of the wedding, while all the girls were primping (starting at 6:30am), Auntie K brought breakfast galore and the much appreciated coffee to the bridal chamber. Along with breakfast she dropped off a tray of semolina pudding, and instructed that everyone eat some: “At least a bite. It’s sweet. This is a lucky food in our culture (Gujarati).”
After having a bite, we went “Mmmm…yummy! I’m going to get more luck,” and refilled our plates. We happily obliged, and made sure all family and friends coming into the bridal chamber at least had a bite.
It just so happened that three days before the wedding, RB#1 reorganized the kitchen cupboard for the conclusion to the Eat Down the House challenge. Overwhelmed with the variety of flours in stock – semolina, buckwheat, cake, bread flour – RB#1 made a passing comment, “What am I suppose to do with semolina flour?”
It occurred to us, that this simple, delicious lucky pudding was a perfect way to use up the semolina flour.
Sooji Halva (Semolina Pudding)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 pinch saffron
- 2 ½ cups water
- ¼ cup raisins
- 3 tablespoons ghee (or clarified butter)
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, crushed cashews or pine nuts
- 1 cup semolina, preferably coarse grind
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
Make the syrup. On low heat, combine the water, sugar, and saffron. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Add the raisins and set aside.
While the syrup is heating, cook the sooji or semolina. In a sauté pan on medium-high heat, heat the ghee. Add the nuts and toast briefly, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then add the semolina flour. Stir until semolina is more golden in color.
Next, add the syrup to the cooked semolina. Be careful, as there will be bubbling and splattering. Add the cardamom. Continue to stir lightly, until the pudding starts moving away from the pan edges by itself.
Serves eight. Garnish with remainder nuts and serve warm.
Happy One Year Anniversary – Wedding Hightlights:
All the lucky customs and lucky food must have worked. RB#3 and my brother-in-law are one of the most blessed couples. They have so much love for each other and from their family and friends. Happy 1 year anniversary! And many more sweet memories to come!