Basbousa Recipe – A Delicious Middle Eastern Dessert

In the world of Middle Eastern desserts, Basbousa stands out as a delightful treat that combines the sweetness of semolina with the richness of yogurt, all soaked in a fragrant sugar syrup. This article will guide you through the process of making Basbousa at home, offering both traditional and modern variations of this delectable dessert.

What is Basbousa?

Basbousa, also known as Revani or Hareeseh, is a popular dessert in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. It is characterized by its unique texture, which is both moist and crumbly, and its signature feature – soaking in a sweet, fragrant syrup that makes every bite a burst of flavor.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Before you embark on your Basbousa-making journey, ensure you have the following ingredients:

For the Basbousa Cake:

  • 1 cup semolina
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

For the Sugar Syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater (optional)
  • A few blanched almonds or pistachios for garnish

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Basbousa

Now that you have your ingredients ready, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making Basbousa:

Step 1: Preheat and Prepare

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Grease a 9×9-inch (23×23 cm) square baking dish with a bit of butter or oil.

Step 2: Prepare the Batter

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the semolina, plain yogurt, granulated sugar, desiccated coconut, melted butter, baking powder, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Mix the ingredients until you have a smooth, thick batter.

Step 3: Pour and Bake

  1. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and spread it evenly.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the top turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 4: Make the Sugar Syrup

  1. While the Basbousa is baking, prepare the sugar syrup. In a saucepan, combine granulated sugar, water, and lemon juice.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the syrup slightly thickens.
  3. Remove the syrup from heat and add rosewater if desired. Let it cool.

Step 5: Soak and Garnish

  1. Once the Basbousa is out of the oven, immediately pour the cooled sugar syrup evenly over the hot cake.
  2. Let it sit and soak for at least an hour to absorb all the syrup’s goodness.
  3. Garnish with blanched almonds or pistachios for a lovely crunch and presentation.

Variations and Tips

1. Chocolate Basbousa

For a modern twist, add cocoa powder to the batter for a chocolatey flavor.

2. Orange Blossom Water

Instead of rosewater, you can use orange blossom water for a citrusy aroma.


Basbousa is a delightful Middle Eastern dessert that brings together the rich flavors of semolina, yogurt, and sugar syrup. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or add your unique twist, it’s sure to be a hit at any gathering.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I substitute semolina with another flour?

Yes, you can use fine cornmeal or almond flour as a substitute for semolina.

2. How do I store Basbousa?

Store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for a week.

3. Can I make Basbousa without yogurt?

While yogurt contributes to the unique texture, you can use buttermilk or milk as alternatives.

4. Is Basbousa gluten-free?

Not by default, but you can use gluten-free flour or almond flour to make it gluten-free.

5. Can I freeze Basbousa?

Yes, you can freeze it for up to three months. Thaw and reheat in the microwave or oven before serving.

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