Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Sugee by Mom

When I read about this month’s SHF theme which was about sweet cravings, my mom’s many desserts instantly come to mind. Sure, these days the dessert I would always go for at a restaurant is the molten chocolate cake. But I never crave stuff like that. Well, ok, maybe sometimes… When I do crave sweet stuff, it’s usually desserts from my childhood in Singapore which were almost always made by my mother. If you were to ask me what I crave most, I would not be able to settle on just one sweet treat because I have a long list. I literally go through one dessert at a time during the two weeks per year that I am back in Singapore. No kidding – my mom will ask me each day what I would like to eat for lunch and what I would like for dessert/afternoon tea. Dinner is usually spent catching up with old friends at my favourite restaurants. And mornings are spent with my sister at the gym, for obvious reasons.

As usual, I digress….For June’s SHF hosted by the Domestic Goddess, I have chosen to make this particular dessert because of practical reasons – it’s the only one that requires ingredients that I can find easily in Sydney. You will have to wait for my trip back to Singapore to see the other sweet treats I miss. One of the good things about starting this blog is that I feel extra motivated to attempt to write down my mom’s recipes. Is a pinch of something equivalent to 1/8 of a teaspoon or….? That’s a topic for another day.

My family calls this dessert “sugee”, which I now realise is actually just another name for semolina. This dessert is probably a variation of kabeesa, a Middle-Eastern porridge, which has been nicely described by Anna of Morsels & Musings. Mom usually makes sugee for afternoon tea and sometimes for dessert. I like it anytime of the day! It is also commonly served as a dessert at Muslim weddings in Singapore.

There are many variations of this dessert in Singapore. Some prefer it slightly watery, while others prefer to make it very thick. Some drizzle melted butter (or ghee) just before serving. This dessert can be served warm, at room temperature or cold.

This is my version of my mom’s recipe. She cooks by estimation as all great cooks do, so this is my best attempt at quantifying her recipe.

Mom’s Sugee
Serves 2

3 tbsp semolina*
2 tbsp ground almond (almond meal)
2 cups whole milk
2 tbsp sugar*
2 green cardamom pods, bruise pods and grind seeds finely
A small pinch of saffron threads
2 tbp sultanas
1 tsp rosewater

Garnish: toasted almond flakes, sultanas

Combine all of the ingredients, except for rosewater, in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to the lowest level and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cardamom pods and stir in rosewater. Serve warm and garnish with almond flakes and sultanas.

* Vary the amount of semolina depending on how thick you prefer it to be. Sometimes my mom uses condensed milk instead of sugar.


Little Foodie said...

Hi Nora, This looks lovely. I've never liked the name semolina so giving it another name has made it look and sound much more appealing to me. Hope you get home soon. It would be great to see some of your mum's recipes too. Amanda

Janet said...

Nora that looks incredible. I can tell that dessert is right up my ALLEY....

Patricia Scarpin said...

What a lovely post, Nora!
It's the first time I see sugee, but I can tell I would love it. It seems to be so comforting and with cardamom, almonds and condensed milk who can resist? :D

Lucy said...


All of my favourite flavours and spicings. Cardamom AND rosewater!

Do you think it would work with a really good soy milk instead?

Nora B. said...

Hi Amanda, I won't get to go home till Christmas! :-( We have live video chats on-line, but it's not the same.

Thanks, Janet. I'm glad we have similar tastes.

Patricia, I like the combination too. I also notice condensed milk used quite a lot in Brazilian desserts & sweets.

Lucy, I've not tried it with soy milk. I do love soy milk, especially homemade ones, but soy milk does have a strong flavour compared to milk. Maybe if you look for a brand that is more mild in flavour and increase the amount of almond meal and cardamom? It's worth a try.

Eva said...

That looks lovely, Nora! I'm also planning on making a childhood treat for SHF...;-) What do you use for grinding the cardamom? Now I finally have a couple of pods but don't know how to treat them...

Nora B. said...

Hi Eva, wow, you are actually going to try cardamoms again. Good girl! I used a mortar and pestle (the one we used to muddle the limes and brown sugar for the drinks...). What you do with the cardamoms depends on the recipe and also how strong you want the flavour to be. I want you to have a positive experience with this, so I'll have to explain it all in person.

Truffle said...

This sounds like the perfect comforting dessert. Lovely post!

Eva said...

Yesterday, I just bought saffron so I simply have to try it - and I'll work my anger into powdering those cardamom seeds with whatever I have on hand... Guess I skip the rosewater though..;-)

Kelly-Jane said...

That sounds like a delicious take on semolina pudding, yum!

Cynthia said...

Okay, I want to be like you :) dinner with friends in the evening at my favourite restaurants and the mornings at the Gym! that is living.

Dessert looks simple and delicious.

Nora B. said...

Thanks, Truffle.

Yes Eva, pounding cardamom can be a good anger management strategy ;-)

Kelly-Jane, this is the only way I know how to eat semolina. I will now try to expand my semolina experience.

Cynthia, well it wasn't every morning that I make it to the gym. Holidays are also for sleeping in. :-)