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Burmese Semolina Cake

Burmese Semolina Cake


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Semolina flour is ground from durum wheat and is usually used to make pasta; toasting it deepens its flavor, and its fine grain yields a tender, custardy cake.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly, divided, plus more
  • 1 14-oz. can coconut milk
  • Coconut ice cream and toasted unsweetened coconut flakes (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Butter an 8x8” baking dish. Toast semolina in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until darkened and nutty-smelling, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

  • Whisk egg, coconut milk, half-and-half, sugar, salt, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in semolina and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from the sides of saucepan, about 4 minutes. Scrape batter into baking dish.

  • Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack. Brush cake with remaining 1 Tbsp. butter; let cool slightly. Serve with coconut ice cream, topped with coconut flakes.

  • DO AHEAD: Cake can be baked 1 day ahead; cover and chill.

Recipe by Spice Island Tea House, Pittsburgh,

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 270 Fat (g) 20 Saturated Fat (g) 14 Cholesterol (mg) 65 Carbohydrates (g) 19 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 4 Protein (g) 4 Sodium (mg) 180Reviews Section

Servings 6

Step 1

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set the pan on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Roast the semolina in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring, until the color changes, 10 minutes.

Combine the coconut milk, enough water to fill 1 coconut milk can, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and bananas in a large pot and heat over medium heat until barely simmering, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Slowly pour in the roasted semolina, mixing well to avoid lumps. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Add the butter or margarine while stirring.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is evenly golden brown, 1 hour. Sprinkle the top with the poppy seeds. Place under the broiler and broil 2 minutes. Cool to room temperature, cover and let stand overnight.

Cut into diamonds to serve. The cake will be moist, not fluffy. Refrigerate any leftovers. Reheat to room temperature before serving.

This recipe yields 6 to 10 servings.

Each of 10 servings: 609 calories 315 mg sodium 95 mg cholesterol 38 grams fat 27 grams saturated fat 64 grams carbohydrates 9 grams protein 1.50 grams fiber.


Banana Shwe Gye Cake

Breakfast cereal in the United States means something crunchy scooped out of a box from the supermarket, a bowl of granola or perhaps oatmeal, cooked in haste in the microwave.

In Asia it’s a different story. Breakfast cereal could be rice soup in Thailand, wheat porridge studded with nuts, curry leaves and chiles in India, a semolina cake soft with bananas in Myanmar, a ball of rice stuffed with coconut and brown sugar in Sri Lanka or a powdery mixture of roasted barley and dried fruits in Nepal.

Interesting traditions surround these foods. Thai khao tom--rice soup embellished with meat, hot chiles and other toppings--is eaten at either end of the day, says Vibul Wonprasat of Venice, artistic director of the annual Thai Cultural Day in Los Angeles. “Thais believe liquid is easier to digest in the morning, before working,” he explains. “Lunch is a heavier meal. When working late at night, Thais like to have liquid food before going to bed.”

Wonprasat, an artist, takes special pains in preparing khao tom. He cooks the rice in bottled water to simulate the rainwater that Thais collect in huge urns for kitchen use. Broken jasmine rice, available in some Asian markets, softens and breaks down into a creamy puree ideal for porridge. The label may say “broken rice” or specify jasmine broken rice and may also include the Vietnamese name for the broken grains, cao thom.

Garlic-flavored pork meatballs garnish Wonprasat’s soup, along with cilantro and a dash of black pepper. Side dishes of fish sauce and sliced chiles soaked in vinegar provide additional seasoning.

In south India, one might breakfast on upma, a wheat porridge that includes vegetables, chiles, black mustard seeds and curry leaves. Vasanti Jayaswal of West Los Angeles makes upma in the style of Bangalore, although she is from Trivandrum in the state of Kerala. To give a nutty flavor, she includes a small amount of lightly browned Indian dal, or roasted cashews can also be added.

Leilei Thein of San Diego calls her Burmese banana cake banana shwe gye. In Burmese, “shwe gye” means semolina, which she uses instead of regular flour. Made with coconut milk as well as evaporated milk, the sweet cake is as likely to show up at breakfast as at other times of day. “In Myanmar, no distinction is made between what is served for breakfast or for afternoon tea,” explains Thein, who grew up in Mawlamyine (formerly Moulmein) in southern Myanmar. “We eat a lot of snack food at breakfast time too.”

Bhante Walpola Piyananda, abbot of the Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara in Los Angeles, tells a legend about the origin of Sri Lankan kiribath (milk rice), which is rice cooked with coconut milk and salt. “This is sacred food to Sri Lankans, as well as delicious,” he says. “It is the last food that the Buddha ate before being enlightened. A servant girl saw him meditating and perceived him as god. She ran to her mistress, who then prepared kiribath for the holy person and brought it to the Buddha. He was enlightened one day later.”

For auspicious days, kiribath rice would be served for breakfast, spread flat on a platter and accompanied by jaggery (brown sugar), treacle and bananas.

In a variation, the rice is molded in small cups and then filled with coconut in jaggery syrup. This recipe, called coppa kiribath, appears in the “Ceylon Daily News Cookery Book,” which has been continuously reprinted since it was first published in Colombo in 1929.

Barley sattu could be called Nepali granola, the way Narayan Somname prepares it. Somname, a Nepali chef working in Japan, sent the recipe to a friend, Bijay Niraula, who is president of the Himalayan Arts and Cultural Council of the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. Somname mixes powdered hulled barley grains with raisins, cashews, coconut, sugar candy, cinnamon and cardamom.

“Sattu can be eaten with both cold or hot milk,” Niraula says. “It can also be mixed with plain yogurt.” Powdery rather than crunchy, sattu is handy food for travelers and campers. The labor involved in pounding the grains to a powder, as is done in Nepal, would discourage most cereal lovers from trying this dish. However, the recipe works well with barley flour from a natural foods store.

Adding raisins, nuts, coconut and spices also breaks with Nepali tradition. There, sattu is frugal food, eaten plain or mixed with water. But Somname’s fancy version is a lot more palatable and just might find a place on an American breakfast table.


Burmese Semolina Cake (Sanwin makin)

2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds
400 ml/14 fl oz can coconut cream
185 g/6 oz/1 cup medium or fine semolina
250 g/8 oz/1 cup sugar
125 g/4 oz ghee or butter
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 eggs, separated

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they are golden. Turn out onto a plate to cool, or they will become too dark.

Dilute coconut cream with equal amount of water. Put semolina in a large, heavy saucepan and stir in the diluted coconut milk gradually, keeping the mixture free from lumps.

Add the sugar, put over medium heat and stir while bringing to the boil. When the mixture boils and thickens add a small amount of ghee or butter at a time and continue cooking until mixture becomes very thick and leaves the sides of the pan. Add salt and ground cardamom and mix well. Remove from heat and beat in egg yolks. Stiffly beat egg whites and fold in.

Turn mixture into a buttered 22 cm (9 in) square cake pan or ovenproof dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds liberally over semolina mixture. Bake at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F) for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until well risen and golden brown. Cool in the dish, then cut into large diamond-shaped pieces.

Serve as a sweet snack or dessert.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)


Burmese Semolina Cake

I first tasted this cake when traveling around Myanmar with my boyfriend. Our tour guide took us to a restaurant in Yangon and picked his favorite local dishes for us to eat. The Burmese semolina cake was the dessert.

We loved the cake so much that we bought an extra piece and shared it later that night. I couldn’t stop thinking about the cake, so when I returned to the U.S., I worked at replicating it.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups toasted semolina
  • 1 ½ cans coconut milk (14 ounce cans)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp. melted butter plus more for buttering pan

Recipe instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Butter a half hotel pan liberally.
  3. In a saucepot combine all the ingredients except the semolina and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Whisk together and place over medium heat.
  4. Slowly add in the semolina while constantly whisking.
  5. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, approximately 10 minutes.
  6. Once mixture has thickened pour into buttered pan and bake for 30 minutes. Make sure to rotate the pan after 15 minutes.
  7. Once cake is done take it out of the oven and brush it with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter.

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Preheat oven to 425°. Butter an 8࡮” baking dish. Toast semolina in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until darkened and nutty-smelling, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk egg, coconut milk, half-and-half, sugar, salt, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in semolina and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from the sides of saucepan, about 4 minutes. Scrape batter into baking dish.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack. Brush cake with remaining 1 Tbsp. butter let cool slightly. Serve with coconut ice cream, topped with coconut flakes.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Burmese Semolina Cake


Sanwin makin: Burmese semolina cake

This recipe for sanwin makin came from Nyein, a darling friend of mine since high school who hails from Burma (now known as Myanmar). I first ate this sweet semolina cake at her parents' house a few years ago, and since then, I have been eager to learn how to make it. Traditionally, sanwin makin is made in a large wok-like pan over an open coal fire. My gas stove and Teflon pan will have to suffice for this experiment.

Ingredients :
1/2 a stick of butter
2 cups of semolina flour (350 g)
2 to 2.5 cups of sugar (350 g)
400 ml coconut milk (about 1.7 cups)
1 tsp salt
3 eggs (beaten)
600 ml water (about 2.5 cups)
1 tsp poppy seeds or sesame seeds or nuts or whatever you want to use as a topping.

Directions :
1. In a large skillet or pan, melt the butter at a low to medium heat.
2. Add the semolina flour and roast the flour until browned at a low to medium heat.
3. When the flour is nicely browned (the color of my skin in the winter), add the sugar, coconut milk, salt, eggs, and water. (Everything except the poppy seeds.) And mix thoroughly while the stove is still on a low to medium heat.
4. Mix until the semolina flour has absorbed the moisture and you can start to see visible separation between the oil and everything else. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 - 400 F. (Varies with the type of pan you're gonna use.)
5. When the flour is softened and the oil separates, pour the mixture into a baking pan and stick it in the oven on bake for about 15 minutes.
6. When the top of the mixture starts bubbling, switch the oven to broil at 350 - 400 for about 15 mins.
7. Check to see if it's hardened. Keep alternating bake and broil if it's not. Shouldn't be mushy but don't expect it to be as hardened as cake either. Usually the 15 mins of bake and 15 mins of broil will do the trick.
8. Take out of the oven and let cool before eating.
9. Go ahead and sprinkle whatever topping you would like to on the top.

If you want it a little creamier and sweeter, add some condensed milk to the mixture. You could also add raisins if you like or cinnamon to add flavor. If you don't want to roast the flour, you can just add everything except the toppings together and warm it in the pan before putting it in the oven.

Having made this for the first time, I would do a few things differently. One is use two cups of sugar instead of two and a half. It turned out a little too sweet for my taste. I also prefer sesame seeds to poppy. I'm a purist, but walnuts and raisins would bring a different level of texture to the treat for those who want more than the cake itself. Lastly, I browned the butter/semolina for a little too long.

It has been a while since I last ate sanwin makin, but my memory tells me Nyein's mom makes it far better than I. However, my parents both loved it, so it was not a total failure. We all agreed its taste reminds us slightly of rugelach, a typical Ashkenazi Jewish dessert. How ironic!


Burmese Semolina Cake

During my daily commute I often daydream about all kinds of stuff. One of my favorite daydreaming activities is trying to figure out what I would name my restaurant, if I were to open one. I have absolutely no intention to ever actually open a restaurant. It would take away all the joy of cooking and sharing food with others. But it’s fun to try and think of a name for this fantasy restaurant.

I don’t know how important a restaurant name is to its success. I’m sure that a really bad name (“Crappy’s” or “Slime and Sweat” or “Danger”) could sink a place. But is there really any difference if a place is called after the owner’s name or a combination of two food ingredients or some made up word that sounds appetizing? Probably not.

So for my restaurant, I’ve gone through many ideas. There are many Greek words related to food but a lot of them just don’t sound right in English or they are hard for Americans to pronounce right. The word for salt in the Cypriot dialect is “alas,” which in English is, according to the dictionary, “an expression of grief, pity, or concern.” The word for vinegar is “xydi” but it’s pronounced kseethee (with the th as in “they”).

It turns out, it’s really tough to find a good name for a restaurant. I’ve been going over this for a while now and I think I finally have a name. I would name my restaurant “Tatounna”. It has nothing to do with food, but it’s what I called my sister when we were little (I think it’s what she called herself first, because she couldn’t pronounce her actual name). My sister and I both love food, though she’s not as interested in cooking it as I am. But most of all, it’s a happy sounding name and it’s my sister, whom I love so very much.

I probably wouldn’t serve this Burmese semolina cake at Tatounna restaurant. But I’ve found myself with a bunch of draft blog posts for recipes that involve apricots and plums and cherries. And the season for them is over. So, instead of giving you a recipe that you can’t make for another 10 months, Burmese semolina cake it is. It’s actually a peculiar cake. It’s dense and intensely fragrant with toasted semolina, but only slightly sweet, with the texture of a very thick and gritty pudding. It makes for a great afternoon snack or it can be topped with ice cream or fruit salad for a more complete dessert.

Burmese Semolina Cake – Slightly adapted from Bon Appétit

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly, divided, plus more
1¼ cups semolina flour
1 large egg
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1½ cups half-and-half
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425°. Butter an 8࡮” baking dish. Toast semolina in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until darkened and nutty-smelling, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk egg, coconut milk, half-and-half, sugar, salt, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in semolina and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from the sides of saucepan, about 4 minutes. Scrape batter into baking dish.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack. Brush cake with remaining 1 Tbsp. butter let cool slightly.


Preheat oven to 425°. Butter an 8࡮” baking dish. Toast semolina in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until darkened and nutty-smelling, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk egg, coconut milk, half-and-half, sugar, salt, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in semolina and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from the sides of saucepan, about 4 minutes. Scrape batter into baking dish.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack. Brush cake with remaining 1 Tbsp. butter let cool slightly. Serve with coconut ice cream, topped with coconut flakes.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Burmese Semolina Cake


Tag Archives: Burmese cake

Even though I am visiting Toronto for a few days, I am still able to attend this week’s Fiesta Friday and bring with me not only a delicious semolina cake, but also Bob the Dog, whom I am cat sitting for a few days. Bob has been with us now for 18 years when we adopted him in Singapore. Since then he has been the charge of and companion to our youngest daughter. He has lived in four different countries, 6 cities, and visited several others. He likes to travel. So here he is, well behaved as always.

And now for my recipe. If you have been following this blog at all lately, you will know that the wild grape harvest is really not happening in my neck of the woods. I had a lot of ideas of what to do with grapes, but most of it will have to wait for a better season. However, with the very small amount of pressed grape juice I do have so far, I wanted to use it in a way in which its flavour and beautiful colour could be appreciated. You could use any fruit concentrate or jelly for this recipe, or if you have wild grapes, simply simmer in water until they are very soft, and then pass them through a food mill. The recipe I chose to make is based on one from Naomi Duguid’s Burma, Rivers of Flavours, which is more than just your usual cookbook. The author’s own travels, photographs and research provide a fascinating account of this little-known country.

There are many different versions of semolina cake and, in my opinion, they are all delicious. I have had a Sri Lankan cake with cashews, a Brazilian one with coconut, and a Greek one covered with orange syrup to name just three. Semolina is made from durum flour, usually used in making pasta, and when it is toasted, as in this recipe, it makes for a rich, nutty flavour. I followed Naomi’s recipe fairly closely with a few minor changes. I used butter instead of oil in the mixture, and omitted the butter she drizzled on top of the cake before baking. Where she grilled the cake with some almond flakes after baking, I just added some grape and honey syrup thickened with cornstarch and sprinkled on some toasted coconut.


Burmese Semolina Cake with Wild Grape Glaze

Ingredients for the cake Ingredients for the Glaze

1 cup semolina flour 1/3 cup concentrated grape juice

1 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup liquid honey

1/2 tsp. salt 1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 cup fresh or canned coconut milk

1/2 cup toasted coconut (optional)

Heat a heavy skillet on medium heat and add the semolina. Stir it as it cooks until the colour turns noticeably from a pale yellow to a deep golden colour. Remove it from the heat and continue to stir until the pan cools down. Add the sugar and salt and transfer it to a bowl. Add the coconut milk, the warm water and eggs and mix until thoroughly combined. Let rest for about half an hour.

Melt the butter in saucepan over a medium heat and add the semolina mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon as you would making porridge, until it becomes thick and comes away from the side of the pan (about 10 to fifteen minutes). Pour it into a slightly greased pan or skillet and pat down until flat. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about half an hour, until the top feels dry and firm.

While the cake is baking, put the cornstarch in a small bowl and pour the grape juice over it and mix until well blended. Heat the grape mixture with the honey over a medium heat for about five minutes, until it is well heated through and slightly thickened. Set aside. If using the coconut, brown it in a skillet over medium heat until golden in colour.

Remove the cake from the oven and drizzle the glaze over it. Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top.

As you can see from the pictures, this is not a light fluffy cake. It is more like a halva with a distinct flavour of semolina. It stores well to.


Watch the video: The famous Baghrir recipe which has reached millions of views on Youtube Moroccan Cuisine (September 2022).


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