Indian Semolina (Sooji Ka Halwa) Dessert

Indian Semolina (Sooji Ka Halwa)
The Spruce
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

Halwas are easy and delicious Indian desserts that have a pudding-like texture. They can be made with all kinds of ingredients (even ones normally associated with savory foods) ranging from lentils and veggies to fruits and grains. 

This recipe for sooji ka halwa ("made with semolina") is a popular version with many families because it is one of those simple but very satisfying desserts that hits the sweet spot every time.


  • 1 1/2 cups sooji (semolina)
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 3/4 cup mixture of cashews (coarsely chopped) and whole raisins/sultanas
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 pods green cardamom (split open)
  • Garnish: Coarsely chopped dried fruits or nuts

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Indian Semolina ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Heat a deep pan over medium heat and when it is hot, add the ghee. When the ghee melts, add the sooji and stir to mix well.

    Cooking ghee and Sooji
    The Spruce
  3. Roast the sooji (stirring frequently) until it begins to turn a very light golden color and gives off a faint aroma. This aroma is enough to make your mouth water! The roasted sooji will have the grainy consistency of wet sand at the beach.

    Roasted sooji
    The Spruce
  4. Add the cashews and raisins to the sooji and mix well.

    Adding cashews and raisins to Indian Semolina (Sooji Ka Halwa)
    The Spruce
  5. While you are roasting the sooji, in a separate pot over medium heat, bring the water, milk, sugar, and cardamom to a rolling boil, stirring often. 

    Pouring milk in sooji
    The Spruce
  6. This next step involves much bubbling and splashing so be prepared and careful! When the sooji is roasted, gently add the water-milk mixture, stirring all the while to prevent lumps from forming. Sometimes it helps to have a cooking partner who will pour while you stir.

    Cooking Indian Semolina (Sooji Ka Halwa)
     The Spruce 
  7. If any lumps do form, make sure to break them with the back of the stirring spoon so you get a smooth paste-like consistency.

    Cooking indian Semolina (Sooji Ka Halwa
    The Spruce
  8. Cook the mixture until it is thick and begins to come away from the sides of the pan.

  9. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm. Serve in individual bowls, garnished with coarsely chopped dried fruit or nuts if desired.

    Indian Semolina (Sooji Ka Halwa)
    The Spruce
  10. Serve and enjoy.


  • The trick to getting sooji ka halwa right is in the browning of the sooji (semolina) and in the proportions of liquid to grain, so follow this recipe exactly to get the best results.