Semolina and Rose Water Slice (Namoura)

Recipe from Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan

This is a sweet and sticky teatime treat, fragranced with aromatic rose water and a warming cardamom syrup. Namoura is rich and dense, one of those cakes that always has you reaching for one more small piece. Enjoy it with little cups of tea infused with sage, or with cardamom coffee, for a truly authentic experience. It keeps well for 3-4 days in an airtight container. I use a 30 x 20 cm baking tin for this.

Makes about 24 slices, depending on size


2 tablespoons tahini

6 cardamom pods

350g coarse semolina

235g natural yogurt

50g caster sugar

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon rose water

2 tablespoons flaked almonds


300g granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon rose water

Coat the inside of a 30 x 20cm baking tin with the tahini.

Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and grind them to a powder in a mortar and pestle. Place in a large bowl and add the semolina, yogurt, sugar, baking powder, salt and rose water. Mix well, then spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and, using the back of a wet metal spoon, smooth the surface of the pudding.

Slice the cake into squares or diamonds and dot each peace with a few flaked almonds. Cover with cling film and leave to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Dissolve the sugar in 250ml water and the lemon juice in a saucepan placed over a medium heat, then bring it to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the rose water. Leave to cool.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour over the syrup and cut the namoura into squares or diamonds once more. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.

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