Harisi (Semolina cake)

A fail-proof recipe to prepare the famous semolina (smeed) cake. It has a much denser flavor that those made with all-purpose flour. Semolina is mixed with butter, yogurt. Syrup sweetens the cake and is added after it is done. Tahini adds a surprising yet great final touch to Harisi.


  • 2 cups smeed (semolina)
  • 2/3 cup butter + 1 tablespoon ghee (or replace with butter)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 2 teaspoons yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 11/2 cups syrup
  • A dash of salt
  • Almond halves for decoration (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix smeed, sugar, salt and melted butter and ghee until blended.
  3. Stir baking powder and baking soda into 1/2 cup yogurt, and then add to the previous mixture.
  4. Blend all together. Mixture will be thick as soft dough.
  5. Grease a 9” x 9” pan with tahini and add mixture.
  6. Level it with a spatula and add the rest of the yogurt on top.
  7. At this point, you can decorate with blanched almonds.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes until sides are brown then broil on low for 5 minutes.
  9. Once you take harisi out of the oven, cut into small squares and pour syrup all over it.

Makes 12 servings

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