Hareeseh, Basboosah, Namoura...

Basically a semolina cake, drenched with sugar syrup!

There are many Arabic sweets that are truly a treat. You walk into a speciality Arabic sweets shop and the next thing you know you want everything there! Contrary to common belief, Arabic sweets are not hard to prepare. You can prepare these at home, and have them taste just as good as store bought ones. They can even taste better at times! So I am posting some recipes here for you to try that are guaranteed to succeed, and taste better than bought ones.

I will Start with Hareeseh (AKA Basboosah in Egypt and as Namoura in Lebanon.) Hareeseh (Semolina Cake) is a very popular dessert; so much so that in some Middle Eastern cities it is common to see a push trolley scrolling down the streets selling this decadent treat. Especially by beaches, parks and even city centres. This dessert can be bought by Kilo, or by large trays (large silver trays for larger quantities, commonly used with Arabic sweets, referred to as Sidder). Hareeseh is among the Arabic Sweets, that can be served as dessert after a meal, had on its own with afternoon tea.

In traditional Arabic customs, a guest would bring Arabic sweets for the host/ess of a lunch or dinner as a token of appreciation for the their efforts in preparing the food and hosting the get together.


This right here, is a bite of cake-like texture that’s been drenched in sugar syrup. It is smooth, very moist and with a crunch from a piece of toasted almond placed on top of each piece. It is a treat by all means.

A very simple to make, but hareeseh requires some time to be done, so make sure to plan ahead. The ingredients below are for a large quantity ( silver tray: sidder size 60). If you do not have that tray, you can divide the quantity into several small serving platters.)


  • 1 1/2 Kg semolina
  • 1 Kg sugar
  • 1/2 Kg yoghurt
  • 1.5 ltrs water (usually double the quantity of the yoghurt)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Peeled blanched almonds or coarsely crushed pistachios
  • 1 cup sugar syrup (recipe on this link)

To Make the Hareeseh

In a large container, mix all ingredients well together, and leave to set for 8 hours.

Spread in oven-proof serving platter (the layer should not be very thick, it should be about 1.5 inches thick). Top with a layer of crushed pistachios, or almonds. Traditionally, Hareeseh top is scored in diamond shapes and each diamond is topped with a piece of almond.

Bake in 375F-190C oven until golden brown on top.

Hareeseh can be served warm or cold, with sugar syrup on the side for those who like it sweeter.

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