Middle East Coconut Basbousa

June 8, 2017

Basbousa is sweet cake popular in the Middle East.  It is done a bit differently in each country and as such, is called quite differently as well. It is characterized by semolina flour being its main ingredient and the sweet syrup poured over it.  Coconut basbousa is one of its variety with the addition of desiccated coconut (at times called coconut powder). 

Basbousa is called harissa in Jordan, I recently came to know. So, that explains why the last pack of semolina flour I got was labeled harissa.  Harissa in Saudi Arabia, however, is a totally different dish.  Talk about being lost in translation!  Yes!  But with sweetness like this dessert, I’d rather be lost, always. 🙂

Basbousa with Coconut - MMK
Basbousa with Coconut – mymotherskitchens

Coconut basbousa is very much similar to Philippine macaroon. They are done differently, but the taste are very close. Almost identical.   

I baked these two recipes today.  Well, so that I can share them with you. Below is the recipe for coconut basbousa.  I would post the recipe for coconut macaroon separately.  


Coconut Basbousa
Sweet cake made from semolina flour and desiccated coconut.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
for the batter
  1. 2 cups semolina flour
  2. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 2/3 cup white sugar
  4. 1 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/4 cup butter softened
  6. 1 cup yogurt
for the syrup
  1. 1 cup white sugar
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 2 tbsp juice of fresh lemon
  4. 1 tbsp honey
  5. pinch of cinnamon powder
  6. pinch of cloves powder
  1. Mix all batter ingredients and spread them over a 9"X9" baking pan.
  2. Bake over 350°F for 35 minutes or until golden.
  3. While baking, make the syrup by mixing sugar, water, cinnamon and cloves powder and bringing them to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer till almost half the amount and a bit thick. Add honey and lemon juice. Stir a bit and let cool.
  4. Cut cake and top with whole almonds.
  5. Pour the cooled syrup over hot cake (I enjoy the sound it makes :-))
My Mothers' Kitchens https://www.mymotherskitchens.com/


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