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Sweet semolina with cashews and raisins( authentic srilankan seeni maa)

Sweet semolina with cashews and raisins(srilankan seeni maa), a mildly spiced,  fragrant treat for the Ramadan festivals and special occasions. to some of us it brings back memories of childhood.

Scroll down to Recipe time should you wish to avoid thoughts and life in general by Mama to the terrible four or you can read on.

So what can I say about my almost two weeks of absence?

Only that I can’t guarantee it won’t happen again because, come next month(starts next week)the eldest of the terrible four will be sitting for her o/l’s and looking at the dates of her exams, I’m staring at disaster, scattered exam dates that runs into a MONTH!

Honestly, why would any exam board torture these kids by dragging it for a month?

Ask these kids and I’m sure they’ll have it end soon rather than dragged for a month, mine had already been vocal that she”hated exams and studying”, don’t blame her, not at all, only Sixteen and already “stressed out”of her mind, I mean who wouldn’t be with text books that weigh more than bricks.

Now I understand there might be logistics involved for the exam board to drag it so long but it truly boggles the mind thinking of the anxiety this child and a million other kids would have to go through. 

Just think, if they are not properly prepared for it, I’m guessing the whole experience of having exams for this long will end up being a trauma for the rest of their lives. come to think of it, I have a recurring dream of sitting to write a paper, never able to finish writing it and there’s the ticking of the clock, this one happens to me at least once a year.

So if you have a child preparing for the exams, don’t let them go through it on their own, do a bit of organising, come up with a schedule they can adapt and enjoy, be their studying partner when you can because I’m finding it can be a great way to know and bond with them, I can definitely promise you’ll have tantrums and days where they’ll not like you but after all the storms between me and her(16)for so many months, finally, I can feel the calm and an understanding growing between us. I’m kind of liking this bonding thing at the moment even with the grumbling.

Only thinking of next month, I’m wondering if I should just shave off my hair and save myself the trouble of loosing it before the month ends, oh well….

Recipe time

Sweet semolina with cashews and raisins( authentic srilankan seeni maa)

Sweet semolina with cashews and raisins( authentic srilankan seeni maa)-510

You know when some foods take you back to the past with the very first taste?

This sweet treat just did that to me.

When I was young, I used to not like it, not because of the way it tastes but because to me, at that age, there were too many”pieces”in them which was exactly what my kids said when they tasted it for the first time, they preferred to have me clear up the pieces and just have spoonfuls of the”powder”.

Now with an appreciation to everything connected to my childhood, I realise that those its and bits(cashews, raisins, fried onions) are the key elements that make this sweet give its unique taste. just think, reading this combination unless you’re a sri lankan, you’ll hardly be able to taste the coming together of them and how it would compliment each other, you won’t, I guarantee. But it does and it comes together in a beautiful way, from the Semolina to the ghee and cashews. Spoonful of fragrant, sweet, delicious taste that brought memories of childhood  I’ve forgotten.

The first taste of it bought about the memory of my grandmother’s hands spreading out the Sugar and semolina, so slowly and gently, in unhurried movements, her hands stand out clearly, what’s surprising to me is that what I’m seeing is from an eye level close to the height of a table she was working on.To this day, she cooks this way, with such calm movements, I wonder if she’s even aware of the reverence in which she treats the meals she makes.

She puts me to shame every time I think about the mad dash I do in the kitchen just to get a meal done. 

As to the name of this treat, I had to get some help from some blogger friends as it is still called”seeni maa”, which means sugar powder in Tamil.The origin of this dish, I truly don’t know, I could be wrong but so far I haven’t found it originating from anywhere outside of Sri lanka, it seems this special, sweet treat does have its roots firmly set in my homeland.

I’m thinking this would also be a great topping for ice creams and chocolate cakes as well.

Moving on to the Recipe, Please make sure to read the recipe at least once before you begin.



The following scales for ingredients are given, presuming you’ll be making it for the first time but should you need to alter for a larger measure, just keep in mind to balance the Semolina and Sugar in equal parts, reduce the amount of Sugar if you want it  to be less sweet.

You can’t go wrong with this recipe, unless of course you, burn the Cashews and Onions before adding them to the mixture.

Semolina 500g

Fine Sugar 500g

Ghee 5 tablespoons

Shallots 500g(finely sliced, you can use the regular onions too)

Raisins 200g

Cashew 200g

Pandan leaves

3-5 Cardamom

Pinch of salt(really a pinch)


Using a flat tray, spread the Sugar evenly, I used a large, square tin for convenience, easy to make and store in the same.

on low fire, gently sauté the Semolina for one to two minutes, the color of the semolina should not change, once its semi-hot mix it with the Sugar, while mixing just taste to make sure that its spread evenly. if you find it’s too sweet just mix in more Semolina but mix well and set aside.

On a pan, low fire add the ghee and Onions, Cardamom, Cashews, Pandan leaves, in that order so you don’t burn the ingredients that cook fast and cook until they turn golden brown, especially the onions.

Now add the sautéed ingredients to the Semolina and sugar mixture, mix while pouring spoons of the Ghee, avoid pouring the ghee at once and mix well. let the Semolina and sugar absorb the ghee,leaving a dry, powdery texture. Add the Salt to enhance flavor and store in an air tight container.

Sweet semolina with cashews and raisins( authentic srilankan seeni maa)pin

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Sadia Mohamed

Thursday 2nd of June 2016

This looks great! I had a Sri Lankan maid and she used to make amazing food. Really love your cuisine. This one seems like a winner too. Will try soon. Thanks for sharing. :)


Thursday 2nd of June 2016

You're most welcome Sadia, this is a festive dish we make for ramadan and serve to guests.

Rafeeda @ The Big Sweet Tooth

Tuesday 26th of April 2016

I was just wondering how much similarity is there of this recipe to some of our cooking... especially on the addition of fried shallots, cashews and raisins. We add that to many of our sweet dishes as a part of the tempering. Though this type of dry semolina is unheard of in our side. We have something similar where we roast and powder rice coarsely, roast it again with some sugar and black sesame seeds till it becomes crisp. We eat it just like that with tea, or mash it up with some banana or make laddoos off it. Lovely pics... Good luck to your daughter, dragging board exams is truly a torture, which must end soon... :/


Wednesday 27th of April 2016

We do the tempering with the ingredients as well, especially for rice dishes, I have no doubt there's a lot of indian, persian, indonesian, portuguese etc influence in Srilankan food. the semolina I used here is quite fine in texture and is readily available. Hmm..I'm wondering if they go into grinding before they are packaged, I need to find that out. I'll have to try the laddoos you mention here, the kids will love it. Thank you, I believe she'll need all the duas she can get, from your and mine to the higher exam board powers let's hope someone hears us, thank you so much for stopping by, I always enjoy your comments, very informative.

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