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The Burma Cookbook

rich semolina cake

On Tuesday night at Les Gourmettes Cooking School, we had two very charming gentlemen teach a class on Burmese cooking. Robert Carmack and Morrison Polkinghorne also happen to be the authors of The Burma Cookbook – Recipes from the Land of a Million Pagodas.

the burma cookbook

The class was not only informative and delicious but really fun – thanks to Robert and Morrison and their exceptionally outgoing and fun personalities.

For dessert they made one of the most popular of all Burmese desserts, a semolina cake.  Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat used in making pasta, breakfast cereals, puddings and couscous.

The book is beautiful, the guys were great and the cake was sublime.

rich semolina cake2

Rich Semolina Cake

2 cups semolina
1 ½ cups coconut milk
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup finely chopped cashews, toasted
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon poppy seeds, white if you can find them
Garnish – Golden raisins that have been soaked in sugar syrup (simple syrup)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square glass Pyrex pan.

Toast the semolina on a baking sheet in preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally so it browns evenly.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, butter and sugar, until sugar dissolves.  Slowly add the toasted semolina, stirring constantly so that lumps do not form, for about 5 minutes.  Keep stirring until the mixture just begins to bubble; add the raisins, cashews and salt.  Lower heat slightly and keep stirring for another 10 minutes. The mixture will get quite stiff, once the batter comes away from the pan sides, you’re done stirring!

Remove from heat, quickly beat in the eggs, mixing well and then transfer the batter to the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds and bake in 325 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

Cool in pan for several hours or overnight and serve at room temperature. Cut into small squares or diamonds.

Top with soaked raisins, if desired.

Makes 12 squares or 24 triangles

rich semolina cake1

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