Basbousa is a traditional Middle-Eastern cake from Egypt. It is quite popular in the other countries in the region too. It is a semolina cake which is sweetened with sugar syrup once it is baked. Basbousa is also called as Namoura or Harissa in other countries in Middle-East.
Basbousa has a somewhat rough texture, which comes from the use of semolina. There are many variants of Basbousa – some made with egg and some without. Sugar syrup (flavoured with rose water or orange blossom) is poured on the hot cake and allowed to soak through. This gives it a slightly sticky texture too.
Depending on personal preference, the sweetness used in the cake batter can be adjusted. The cake itself doesn’t have too much of added sugar.
A middle-eastern semolina cake!
- For the cake
Semolina – 1 cup
Melted butter/ghee/oil – 1/4 cup
Dessicated Coconut – 1/4 cup
Sugar – 1/6 cup
Baking powder – 1/2 TSP
Yoghurt – 1/2 cup
Milk – 1/4 cup
Roasted/blanched/plain almonds for garnish
- For sugar syrup
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 3/4 cup
Lemon juice – 1/2 TSP
Rose water – 1/2 tbsp (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200C. Grease and line a rectangular loaf tin with parchment paper.
- Mix together semolina and ghee (or melted butter or oil) in a bowl till all the semolina is well coated.
- To this, add the coconut, sugar and baking soda and mix well.
- Next, add the yoghurt and mix it into a lump free mix. To this, add the milk and mix well.
- Press the basbousa mix firmly into the prepared tin.
- Use a knife and cut into diamond or square design and place an almond in the centre of each cut design.
- Bake this at 200C for 30-40 min until top is a light golden brown colour.
- While the basbousa is baking, prepare the sugar syrup.
- For this, boil the sugar and water together.
- Boil it on high heat till sugar melts completely. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and rose water (optional) and keep it aside to cool.
- Once the basbousa has baked, take it out of the oven and cut along the earlier cut lines again.
- Pour half of the cooked sugar syrup all over the basbousa while it is hot itself and put it back in the oven for 5 min.
- After 5 min, take it out and add the remaining syrup.
- Let the basbousa cool down and absorb the sugar syrup properly before cutting and serving.