Have you ever eaten semolina porridge when you were a child? For me, it was THE DESSERT to have when my cravings kicked in and I had nothing else around. Let me tell you more about how to use semolina in your kitchen.
Have you ever seen recipes that ask for semolina and you’ve avoided them so far because you didn’t know what this fancy-named ingredient is? We do agree that ‘semolina’ sounds like a pretentious item, but in fact, it’s just a different milled wheat flour. Semolina is the coarse wheat middlings of durum wheat, and it looks like golden-light granular particles, larger than flour particles. It’s usually used for making pasta and couscous, but you can also use semolina even if you don’t make such complicated things in the kitchen. Actually, semolina is a smart staple for the pantry of anyone who cooks at home.
You should also know that semolina is a high-gluten and high-protein ingredient. Its flavor is slightly earthy. Don’t confuse it with polenta, because they are different in taste (and polenta is gluten-free)! You will probably find semolina in your regular grocery store, right next to the all-purpose flour.
How to use semolina
Semolina is a staple food in Nigeria. They boil it in water, then eat it with soups or stews. Also, couscous made from semolina is a common food in other parts of Africa as well as the rest of the world. In European countries, semolina is also used for sweet puddings and it can form a type of porridge when boiled.
This ingredient is most commonly used in Italy, but you can also use semolina even if you don’t plan to shape homemade gnocchi or other pasta. You can try it in custards, puddings, scones, and even cakes. Semolina goes well with butter, milk, eggs, and sometimes - parmesan.
1. Semolina pudding
Semolina pudding is a porridge-type pudding. Simmer semolina in milk, or a mixture of milk and water. Also, add sugar. When ready, pour the pudding into small bowls. You can eat it warm or cold.
The pudding is often served with cocoa powder, cinnamon, raisins, fruit, jam, syrup, or grated chocolate on top. Semolina pudding can also be baked rather than boiled, and it’ll get a consistency similar to rice pudding.
If you need to prepare a very quick breakfast or dessert, then semolina pudding is a smart and tasty option!
2. Basbousa or semolina cake
Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet cake, that has quite a few variations, depending on the country. Traditionally it is made with semolina, and it's flavored with rose-water or orange blossom water. We've also added some of our favorite ingredients to the recipe, including pistachios, coconut, and vanilla.
You can also make different types of desserts using semolina: yogurt cakes, lemon cakes, and coconut cakes.
3. Semolina dumplings
American dumplings can be made with eggs, milk, baking powder or even yeast, or just from flour and water. But how about trying the semolina dumplings?
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Then stir together semolina flour, whisked eggs, olive oil, and salt in a larger bowl until smooth, following your recipe quantities. Slowly whisk in the semolina until a soft dough has formed. Drop the dumpling dough by the teaspoonful into the boiling water. Boil for about 4 minutes, until the dumplings float to the surface and have grown in size. Remove them with a slotted spoon. You can serve the semolina dumplings in stews or clear soups.
4. In cookies and pancakes
Semolina makes your cookies and pancakes more crisp and crumbly. Every bite will melt in your mouth. If you want, you can replace some all-purpose flour with semolina in any cookie recipe. But you can also make cookies using only semolina (and of course, mixing it with butter, milk, sugar, eggs, baking powder, one pinch of salt and your favorite extracts and flavors, or dried currants). Enjoy your sweets with a cup of tea!
5. In pizza crust
In bread making, a small proportion of durum semolina added to the usual mix of flour is said to produce a tasty crust. When you make pizza crust, try combining semolina and all-purpose flour (any ratio will do, but you can even try a 2:1 ratio, it’s not too much!). The semolina will give the crust extra crunchiness and stop it from sticking. In the same way, you can use semolina in tart or quiche crusts.
- As an alternative to corn meal, semolina can be used to flour the baking surface to prevent sticking.
- You can use it to thicken soups, stews, and gravies.
- Semolina flour can go rancid if stored in the open air; for best results, refrigerate it when not using it.