Basboosa | Middle Eastern Semolina Cake



This month marks two years of the Muslim Food Blogger’s Challenge. It is an amazing feeling. I have been coordinating this event since the beginning and Alhamdulillah, am satisfied with the way the sisters have taken this challenge in their stride, trying to participate in every challenge possible. This year, we did only 9 challenges, taking a break during the summer months. As was done last year, this year also as part of the anniversary challenge, members are free to choose one of the themes of the previous months and repeat them. Below are the themes we had done over the past year and my posts for each:

December 2017 – Arabic sweets

January 2018 – Cooking with ingredient: Olives

February 2018 – Cooking from cuisine: Bangladesh

March 2018 – Breakfast

April 2018 – Trying from a blog: This Muslim Girl Bakes

May 2018 – Ramadan food from the Islamic world

June 2018 – Eid ul Fitr specials from the Islamic world

July 2018 – Cooking with ingredient: Cucumber

August and September break

October 2018 – Back to school lunchbox ideas


I decided to redo the Arabic sweets challenge and I was hell bent at wanting to make Kunafa. I had tried the Kunafa once and failed miserably – you can read the story here. I had run a poll on Instagram last month, and Kunafa was one of the requested recipes. I even had a cut out with a lovely recipe stuck on my kitchen notice board. But I had a concern – Kunafa dough is available in the freezer aisles in 500 gm packs, which meant that I couldn’t just make it for us, and needed a crowd to feed. The crowd I could feed – my cousins – didn’t make it on any of the weekends.




So the Kunafa dream didn’t materialize, but that was when I realized that I don’t have a Basboosa recipe! It isn’t something that I haven’t tried, I have tried making it twice and it turned out so-so. This time, I was hell bent at wanting to make it. I spent half a day reading on whatever links I could find for this dish on the net, and most of the recipes were kind of similar. There are basboosa recipes which used eggs, but then a little more digging in made me realize that its Turkish cousin called the Revani is similar, but uses eggs and little flour to give it a more cakey texture. InShaAllah, that is also up for me to try, but then sticking to the basboosa for now… πŸ™‚


Do you know what basboosa means? It means “just a kiss”. So cheesy, right? πŸ˜€ Whatever said and done, a bite into it is supposed to give you the exhilaration a kiss gives! This dish goes by several other names too – some places called it Hareesah and Nammourah. A basic basboosa is semolina flour, and has several variations like coconut and nut meal added to it. I decided to keep it plain and not contaminate it with dessicated coconut. The best part about this dish is that it is quite unassuming, and therefore can be intimidating too! The first time I made them, I baked them in a small tray. I had such a thick basboosa which was under-cooked and tasted like raw dough! The next time I made them, they cooked fine but the top portion was too white. This time, I made sure I tested a small quantity and also get it broiled to look like a basboosa. And I must say – I am mighty happy with this attempt! I binged on the sides when I wasn’t supposed to eat them, they were so addictive!


HD loved it and wouldn’t believe it was home made. *blush blush* πŸ˜€ Azza kept eating from all the corners, and B also helped himself with his share. Rasha didn’t eat it, instead chose to “steel” the almonds on top of each of the squares. πŸ˜• I have included some tips and tricks, hoping that you all would be able to make the best basboosa too. πŸ™‚ Off to the recipe… and also do not forget to peep into what the other bloggers bought along for this challenge…





4.67 from 3 votes

Basboosa | Middle Easter Semolina Cake

Course Dessert
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Rafeeda


  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • Almonds for garnish
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • A squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water optional


  • First, prepare the sugar syrup. Boil the sugar along with the water for 15 minutes. Switch off, add the lemon juice and the waters. Allow it to come to room temperature, while you bake the basboosa.
  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Brush an 8 inch flat tray with the tahini. Set aside.
  • Take 1/2 cup of the semolina and the sugar in a grinder and pulse till smooth. Empty into a bowl.
  • Add the remaining semolina, baking soda and salt and give a good whisk.
  • Whisk the yogurt and ghee together and add into the dry ingredients. Fold using a spatula till the whole mixture is moist.
  • Spread on the tray and flatten the top. Allow it to sit for five minutes.
  • Using a knife, draw lines for cutting later. Push in an almond at the center.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Broil the top for 2-3 minutes - keep a watch to ensure the top doesn't burn.
  • Take out and pour half the sugar syrup all over the hot basboosa. Allow it to sit for five minutes, and pour the rest of the sugar syrup.
  • Rest the basboosa for an hour to soak up all the sugar syrup. Cut through the lines till deep and pull out the squares. Enjoy.


The flavorings for the sugar syrup is optional, though it is always good to use at least rosewater.
The sugar syrup has to be at room temperature and needs to be poured on the hot cake, to absorb completely. You can prepare the syrup in advance and keep in the fridge, and bring it back to room temperature.
Resting the batter in pan is not mandatory, though it will help the semolina absorb the liquid in the batter and hold good shape once baked.
Make sure to spread the batter thin - the basboosa shouldn't be over 2 inch thick.


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Join the Conversation

  1. When am I going to try this!! I’m searching for a recipe which i used to have it from a Restaurant here called Tazaj!They serve the best basbousa!Hehe! By the way yours looks yummy!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Always happens! The easiest ones are always set aside… Thanks a lot Shazia…

  2. β€œjust a kiss”…what a sweet name for a sweet treat πŸ™‚ They look very tempting and delicious.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Angie… πŸ™‚

  3. Wow! this looks delicious

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks Veena…

  4. Wow!Didn’t know it meant ”just a kiss”…Your basboosa looks perfect and delicious.

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Ruxana…

  5. 4 stars
    my most favourite dessert.. well anything with semolina – I am a sucker! πŸ™‚ I really want to give cleobuttera’s recipe a go even though I have two basbousa recipe on the blog! Yes, like you even I am weary of adding coconut but now I think I will give that one too a try.. but the question is WHEN! LOL! Congratulations Raf, 2 years is good and hope we get more participants coming months…

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Hehe… I am already planning to try with coconut and almond meal in one… πŸ˜€ Thank you so much Fami…

  6. 5 stars
    All time fav.. love basboosa .. this looks absolutely perfect 😍.. semolina.. rose water .. orange blossom water a match made in heaven😍😍

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Niloufer… πŸ™‚

  7. 5 stars

    thgis looks really delicious , my mom in law made this, she was from Libanon ! hugs!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Gloria…

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