how to make

Arabic Dessert Basbousa

Original author:

Basbousa, also known as Harissa, is a beloved Arabic dessert that showcases the rich tapestry of Middle Eastern flavors. This delightful treat, deeply rooted in regional culinary heritage, combines semolina, coconut, and rose water to create a moist and aromatic experience. With a history steeped in tradition, Basbousa offers a sweet journey into the heart of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Image of dish Arabic Dessert Basbousa


  • 1 cup + 1/3 cup semolina (rava/suji)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup refined oil or melted butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For Sugar Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 lemon slice
  • 1 tsp rose water (optional)


Prepare the Semolina Mixture

  • In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of semolina, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, and 1/2 cup of coconut powder.
  • Add 1/3 cup of refined oil or melted butter and mix well.
  • Pour in 1 cup of milk and 1 tsp of vanilla essence. Mix until a smooth batter forms.
  • Sift in 1 tsp of baking powder and stir to incorporate.

Prepare the Baking Pan

  • Grease a baking pan with a bit of oil or butter to prevent sticking.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

Pour and Spread

  • Pour the prepared semolina batter into the greased baking pan.
  • Use a spatula to evenly spread and flatten the batter in the pan.

Bake the Basbousa

  • Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the top turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Prepare the Sugar Syrup

  • In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Add a slice of lemon for flavor.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and a syrup forms.
  • Stir in 1 tsp of rose water if desired, for a fragrant touch. Remove from heat.

Soak the Basbousa

  • Once the Basbousa is baked, remove it from the oven and immediately pour the warm sugar syrup over the hot Basbousa.
  • Allow the Basbousa to absorb the syrup and cool down in the pan.


  • Cut the cooled Basbousa into diamond or square shapes.
  • Plate the Basbousa pieces and serve them as a delicious Arabic dessert.
  • You can garnish with additional coconut flakes, chopped nuts, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar if desired.
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