If you are of Pakistani or Indian descent you have definitely cooked/eaten Semolina, called sooji in Urdu/Hindi, in your life. It has a rich, delicious and unique aroma that will kick your salivary glands into overdrive. It fills the entire place, inviting you to dive into the world of creamy textures. Like so many others, this recipe also brings forth a memory of my mom. It seems like working on this blog is a way for me to connect with her again.
We were a family of six hungry young kids. Our mom was a working woman and she would come home late in the afternoon. She preferred easy recipes and things that she could make in advance, and could last for at least a few days. These sooji ki tikiya were her go to recipe for a light sweet dessert, she made these whenever we asked. Whenever she made these tikiyas, the whole place would fill up with the most beautiful fragrance of semolina and cardamom.. We always ended up eating these for the next few days. It reminds me of happy carefree times when all that mattered was eating as many of the tikiyas that I could.
Now I make these for my kids and when they eat with the same eagerness as I did, feels like I can understand exactly why my mother smiled her big beautiful smile when she told us not to worry and eat as much as we wanted, and assure us that she had made lots for the next day too. The recipe is simple and easy and turns out beautiful. Prepare all of the ingredients and keep everything ready as the recipe requires you to do everything quite quickly so that the tikiyas are not over-cooked.
- 1 1/2 cup sooji/ semolina
- 3/4 cup cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cardamom pods, seeded and crushed
- 1/3 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup cashews
- 1/3 cup pistachios
- 2 tbsp crushed coconut
- 2-3 dates ,sliced (optional)
- Line a small tray with parchment/butter paper. Lightly grease it.
- Coarsely chop the almonds, cashews and pistachios. Mix in the crushed coconut and set aside.
- Turn the stove on medium heat and in a wok style pan add the semolina/sooji and crushed Cardamom seeds.
- Cook this for 3-4 minutes till its fragrant, make sure that the color of sooji does not change.
- Now take the wok off the stove and quickly add the sugar, keep stirring.
- Keep a few of the dry fruits (almonds, cashews and pistachios and coconut) to be used for topping later, add the remaining in the wok.
- Now this recipe gets a bit tricky here, add half of the cream first and mix it in. The amount of cream you add determines the softness or hardness of the squares. If you like them a tad bit hard then half cup should be enough. If you want them softer add 3/4th cup of cream.
- Do remember that if you don’t add enough cream the squares might become too dry and break apart.
- Now pour this in the tray and quickly level with a spatula.
- Sprinkle on the dry fruits and the dates you save earlier and press them in place so they get embedded.
- Let this cool off for an hour and then cut them into squares. Do NOT try to take these out of the tray.
- These take shape in around 5-6 hours so moving them before could result in really delicious shapeless semolina things, not squares.
These store well for 4-5 days easily, sometimes even more. As these contain lots of nuts they are considered good for enhancing focused brain activity and for women who recently gave birth, as part of the traditional desi totkas :-). Kids preparing for exams would surely need a few, hehe, enjoy these with chai or just as individual treats. These will never disappoint.
Aa jao bachon “Sooji ki tikiya” tayyar hain!!