Recipe courtesy of Archna Becker

Sooji Halwa

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Halwa is an Indian dessert that can be made with different ingredients, such as wheat flour, almond flour, semolina flour or yellow lentil flour. This version, made with semolina flour (sooji), is the most traditional in north India and is commonly served for many religious ceremonies and celebrations, like Diwali. It’s rich and creamy in texture with the fragrant scent of cardamom and saffron. The final garnish of dried rose petals and sliced almonds (or cashews and raisins) adds a festive touch.



  1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the ghee and semolina, then whisk together.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the sugar with 4 cups water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and incorporate together. Add the yellow food coloring, if using. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the crushed cardamom seeds, saffron and additional yellow food dye, if using, to the semolina mixture and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the ghee separates from the mixture, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar water gradually, while whisking, (being sure it doesn’t get lumpy) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates and the mixture resembles a porridge, 6 to 8 minutes. Cook, stirring constantly, until you see the ghee separate from the porridge, about 5 minutes.
  4. Garnish with the almonds, rose petals and raisins. Sooji halwa is traditionally served warm but is also delicious cold.

Cook’s Note

If semolina is not available, you can use cream of wheat instead.