Mamouniyeh is a traditional Syrian semolina pudding that is mostly served on special occasions like weddings and birthdays but is also a very popular breakfast porridge. Made of roasted semolina, garnished with nuts, cheese, or fresh cream and served warm, mamouniyeh makes the perfect comfort breakfast or sweet dessert. I know you're thinking cheese and pudding don't sound too great but trust me, it perfectly balances out the sweetness of the pudding and makes it an amazing start for the day.
What I Love About This Recipe
As a kid, this semolina pudding was one of my favorite dishes EVER, and it was something my family would have every Friday morning as a lazy comfort breakfast, so it gives off a nostalgic feeling. It's one of my absolute favorites because it brings back great memories. You'll be surprised at how quick and easy it is to make!
- Semolina: Both coarse semolina or fine semolina can be used, as they are both prepared the same.
- Ghee or Butter: Traditionally made with fresh ghee (samneh baladi), you could alternatively use butter.
- Sugar: There's nothing like a perfectly sweet bowl of mamouniyeh that feels like a warm hug. I don't like mine too sweet though, so I usually cut the amount of sugar in half.
- Nuts: The most common nuts to use for garnishing semolina pudding are freshly toasted pine nuts and almonds, but it's common to see people use pistachios, and sometimes even cashews.
- Milk: I like to make my semolina pudding with equal parts of milk and water. Milk gives it a richer and creamier texture, but as long as you have the right amount of liquid, either one will do.
- Orange Blossom Water: A tablespoon goes a long way, but this ingredient could probably be named the signature flavor for Syrian desserts. If it's not in the dessert itself, it's usually in the sugar syrup that's drizzled on top.
- Cinnamon: This part is optional, but a sprinkle of cinnamon on top makes it a hundred times better!
How To Make Syrian Semolina Pudding
Melt 1 tablespoon of ghee/butter in a pan and toast the nuts until golden brown. Set aside for later use (for the topping).
In a medium-sized pot, add the sugar, water, and orange blossom water and dissolve the sugar in medium-high heat. Once the sugar dissolves and starts bubbling, immediately lower the heat. Let it sit while you toast the semolina.
In the same pan, you used to toast the nuts, melt the remaining ¼ cup of ghee or butter. Once it's melted, add the semolina and stir continuously until golden brown. It should take on a caramel color.
Once your semolina takes on a nice color, add it to the pot where your sugar-water mixture is sitting and turn the heat back up to medium-high. You'll want to stir constantly as to not get any lumps. This should take around 7-8 minutes.
As soon as your pudding thickens, pour immediately into a big bowl or into smaller individual bowls. Garnish with nuts, cream, or cheese.
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure to dissolve the sugar in the water or milk. Be careful not to over-boil it before you add the semolina. As soon as the sugar completely dissolves, add your toasted semolina.
- Toast your semolina in ghee while the sugar dissolves in order to save time.
- When you toast the semolina, you want to have your stove on medium-heat. Use a spatula to constantly stir it in order to get an even golden color. This should take around 10-15 minutes depending on how high you have the heat on, or until it's golden-brown.
- Once you add the semolina to the boiling water, it'll only take a couple of minutes to absorb the liquid, so you need to keep continuously stirring in order to avoid any lumps.
How to Decorate Semolina Pudding
Mamouniyeh is usually served in a big bowl, but I've seen it getting popular being served in smaller personal bowls. Play around with how you sprinkle your toppings. You can create fun designs by making shapes on the pudding with the nuts. I like to put the pistachios in the middle, then sliced almonds and the pine nuts on the edges.
- A medium sized stovetop pot
- A small stovetop pan
- A spatula or wooden spoon
Mamouniyeh is best eaten fresh, however, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave.
Made from a hard type of wheat called durum wheat, semolina is basically just a coarser flour. It's usually used in pasta, bread, as well as baked goods, but it's super well known for being used in semolina porridge. This is because it absorbs liquid really well.
In Syria, Semolina is very commonly used in numerous desserts and baked goods like ma'amoul bars and harisse and gives them their signature crumbly texture. Additionally, it's commonly served in savory dishes as couscous in the place of rice.
Mamouniyeh has a smooth, heavy, and velvety texture. As it cools, it will usually take the shape of whatever you put it in. Some people prefer it more liquid, but I like it to be more thick and creamy.