Nutty, sweet, and earthy, semolina is a popular durum wheat flour used into a variety of different pastas and appetizing dishes. Learn what we like the most about this classic ingredient and the best recipes that let semolina shine. 

What is semolina?

Semolina is a nutty flour obtained from milling durum wheat. It offers a coarse texture, golden color, and is rich in gluten protein. The name semolina is derived from the Italian word, semolino, meaning “bran”. Semolina can be found in coarse, medium, and fine textures depending upon the grinding. However, the medium grind is more commonly used in a variety of sweet and savory semolina recipes. Semolina is popular in Middle Eastern, African, Asian, and European cuisines.

Flavor of Semolina 

Image Credit: By Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA – Semolina / Sooji (CC BY 2.0)

Semolina offers a more earthy and nutty flavor in comparison to other wheat flours. The texture however is coarse like cornmeal with a golden-yellow color. Being rich in gluten, semolina gives the perfect strength, texture, and chewiness to pasta, macaroni, and bread.

How to use semolina?

A scrumptious Italian recipe, gnocchi alla Romana, incorporates semolina, cheese, milk, and butter together in a polenta-like casserole that is layered and baked until irresistibly cheesy. Another popular semolina recipe is stracciatella, also known as Italian egg drop soup, composed of semolina, chicken broth, eggs, shredded cheese, parsley, and a variety of aromatic spices.

The North American staple food, couscous is prepared from semolina flour. Couscous is a kind of grainy pasta with a meat and vegetable stew served on top of the steamed semolina balls. It’s also a national dish in multiple regions including Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.

Image Credit: pixel1 from Pixabay

Many Asian cuisines use semolina in a variety of recipes ranging from sweet to savory. Semolina dosa is welcoming street food in India, prepared from semolina flour, spices, and herbs. It’s similar to a crepe in shape and texture while offering a savory burst of flavor. Idli and upma are popular breakfast cutlets in South Asian cuisine incorporating semolina, rice flour, and a handful of aromatic spices. Now let’s talk about the sweet recipes that are simply incomplete without semolina. The famous semolina pudding of English cuisine pairs well with deliciously tangy red currant sauce. Another well-known Italian pie, migliaccio is baked goodness made from semolina, ricotta cheese, vanilla, and citrus peel. A traditional sweet semolina recipe in Greece is halva, which is a steamed pudding made from sugar, butter, milk, nuts, and semolina (not to be confused with sesame-based halvah). Grab some semolina flour next time you’re at the store to make any variety of dishes or order online.

Feature Image: By Guillaume Paumier – Own work (CC BY 3.0)

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