Traditional Sooji ka Halwa (Semolina Halwa)

Halwa is a famous dessert that is prepared all over the world with various ingredients and in countless forms. This 20-minute recipe is prepared with semolina in the Pakistani and North Indian style.

Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup fine semolina sooji
  • 2-3 cups water*
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar or cane sugar or to taste
  • 4-5 cardamom pods slightly cracked open
  • 1/2 tsp to 2 tsp rose water depending on how strong your rose water is
  • pinch of saffron optional
  • slivered almonds for garnish**


  1. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan on medium-low heat and add the semolina.
  2. Stir the semolina continuously until it roasts evenly and turns golden in color, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat. You can also continue on to the next step while roasting the semolina.
  3. In a separate small saucepan, bring to a boil the water, light brown sugar and cardamom pods. Keep boiling until the sugar is dissolved, and then remove from heat and add the rose water and saffron.
  4. Place the semolina mixture back over medium heat. Stir this sugar syrup carefully into the browned semolina. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes, until the mixture thickens, loses most of its moisture and the butter starts to separate from the semolina.

  5. Garnish with slivered almonds (or other garnishings) and serve warm.

Recipe Notes

* The water will determine the texture. If you want it to be more crisp and grainy, use 2 cups of water. 3 cups will yield a softer and thicker halwa. ** You can also add various nuts, raisins, or any other garnishing. Some people add this within the halwa while cooking it (I prefer to keep the halwa center-stage though).