Tag Archives: Arabic dessert




Basbousa !!!! Arabian and Eastern Mediterranean sweet semolina cake soaked in orange blossom water or rose water flavored sugar syrup .. In Arab countries it is known as Basbousa or Harissa , while in Turkey and Greece , known as Revani or Ravani , in Armenia it is Shamali. Like the various names , this sweet dish has many variations in ingredients too . Sometimes coconut is used for additional flavor . Some uses yogurt , some uses milk instead of yogurt , like Libyan basbousa . Some uses Only Farina or semolina , whereas some uses semolina and flour both . Condensed milk is seen in many recipes , it gives a fudge like taste . basbousa made with yogurt is denser than the basbousa made with milk .
Here you go with Arabic Basbousa !!! Just tried to keep the authentic flavor !!!

Ingredients :

For cake :

1 and 3/4 th cup of sooji/ semolina
1/4 th cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 th cup melted butter
3/4 th cup sugar
1 cup of yogurt
1 tea spoon baking powder
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut ( optional)
Few drops of vanilla essence ( optional)
Blanched almond

For the sugar syrup:

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1 tea spoon lemon juice
2 tea spoon rose water

Procedure :

1. Pre-heat the oven to 360 FH .

2. Combine all the ingredients for cake and beat with the electric hand beater until incorporated . You can mix all the ingredients wth a whisk too.

3. Grease a pan and pour the batter . Give the cut mark in the shape of square or diamond and place one almond on each square or diamond .

4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30- 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean .

5. While the cake is in the oven , make the sugar syrup with 1 cup of sugar , 1 cup of water , 1 tea spoon lemon juice and 2 tsp of rose water . Boil for 10-12 minutes on medium flame . It will thicken a bit but not too thick . Must have the pouring consistency .

6. After taking out the cake from the oven , pour half of the warm syrup all over the hot cake and save the remaining half . Put the cake back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes . Now after taking out from the oven , pour the remaining syrup all over the cake .

Enjoy hot or room temperature . I found it yummier when cooled down . 🙂

Tips :

1. Sometimes it happens , you will not get the golden color on the top , even when your cake is ready . So To get that golden color on the top , I broiled at the same temperature for 5 minutes . And every 2 minutes , I rotated the pan , so that the color is even . Varying on the oven and power distribution the time may vary , even you may not need to broil it for the color . 🙂 But be careful , don’t burn the cake . It should be done before you pour the syrup and re-bake for 5 minutes .I got a very nice golden color and little crisp crust with soft , spongy inside . 🙂


Atayef- Asafeeri , the exotic Arabic pancake

Atayef- Asafeeri , the exotic Arabic pancake

Atayef- Asafeeri , the exotic Arabic pancake

Atayef is one of the most popular Arabic sweets , a hot favorite during Ramadan ( the fasting month for Muslim) , a folded Arabic pancake , served with Ater ( the syrup) . Asafeeri belongs to the same group , but unlike Atayef , it is not fully folded . One Side of asafeeri is open and filled with cream and the cream part is dipped in grounded pistachio or walnuts . It is not fried like Atayef too . Atayef has a crunchy surface , as it is fried and dipped in the sugar syrup before served . But Asafeeri is soft as it is not fried and usually little smaller than atayef in size .

The filling of atayef is traditionally very simple . There are many options for the filling . Like only nuts, coarsely chopped dried fruits , Nablusi or any other cheese . Sometimes cheese is mixed with fresh or clotted/ canned cream and grounded Mistka ( sugar crystal like things).

This is Atayef ; a half moon shaped:

This is asafeeri , one side open and filled with cream:


For the batter: ( makes about 4 atayef and 7-8 asafeeri together)

1/2 ( half) cup All purpose flour
1/2 (half) cup semolina ( sooji)
1 tbl spoon of milk powder
2 tbl spoon sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tbl spoon oil
1/2 ( half) teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 cup+ 1/3 rd cup Luke warm liquid milk
1 tbl spoon of orange blossom water/ rose water
1 pinch of baking soda


as I have mentioned earlier , there can be various options for the filling . The classic cheese filling is a filling with cheese and cream . There can be dried fruits filling or nut filling . Any filling of your choice . The filling I used is our home made, desi style cheese with cream filling and the interesting part is , I mixed some grounded Misri ( Taal-misri , sugar crystals) with it , instead of Mistka ( arabic sugar crystal). 🙂

Chaana/ cheese
Fresh cream/ canned cream
1 tbl spoon of condensed milk
Little sugar
Grounded Misri

Whip the cream for a while . Mixed with chana , condensed milk , sugar and grounded misri . The Filling must not be runny .So the amount of chaana/ cheese must be appropriate . The filling shoud be stiff. For the atayef mix some coarsely chopped nuts with it .

For chaana:

Boil 4 cups of milk . When it reaches the boiling point . Add 2/3 tbl spoon of lemon juice and stir until the whey separates . Drain out the whey and wash the chaana with running cold water . Squeeze out all the water from chaana . 🙂

For dipping:

Grounded pistachio and walnut

For the syrup:

Half cup sugar
Half cup water
Rose water
Half tea spoonof lemon juice ( to prevent crystallization)

Make a Medium thick ( two thread consistency ) sugar syrup with the ingredients.


1. Make a thin batter with all the ingredients mentioned above except the baking soda . Allow the batter rest for at least 2 hours or until frothy . It’s better to let the batter rest for longer time for better result.

2. Beat the batter again with a spoon before you make the pancakes . Add the baking soda and mix well . The batter should be thin . If needed , you can add 1 or 2 tbl spoon of more water .Heat the pan on medium-low heat and when heated, rub the pan with little oil and drop batter on it using a ladle just like pancakes . Soon you will see the bubbles on it . If the batter is of right consistency, that is thin , there will be small bubbles all over the atayef . But if the batter is thick , the bubbles will not be so .

Here’s the picture of the batter of right consistency:

3. Just cook one side like the pancakes . Don’t turn over . Cook till the bottoms brown and the bubbles on the top appear to have dried out.

4. Now finish making all the pancakes like this. Place the filling and fold the edges with your finger tips . But for asafeeri , don’t fold it fully ,leave one side open and fill the opening with the filling and dip into ground pistachio or walnut.

5. For the Atayef , just before you serve , heat the pan with 1 tbl spoon of butter or oil and fry them a while until bit crunchy . Remove from the oil and dip into sugar syrup . Serve hot !!! Don’t fry the asafeeris. Serve both with ater ( sugar syrup)


1. Try to fold the atayef and asafeeri immediately , or else it will dry out and you will find difficulty to fold them up . So after frying cover them with a wet cloth so that it should not dry out until you are done with all the cakes .