Burmese Semolina Cake (Sanwin makin)

Burmese Semolina Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream (Photo by Naoto Sato/flickr)


2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds
400 ml/14 fl oz can coconut cream
185 g/6 oz/1 cup medium or fine semolina
250 g/8 oz/1 cup sugar
125 g/4 oz ghee or butter
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 eggs, separated


Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they are golden. Turn out onto a plate to cool, or they will become too dark.

Dilute coconut cream with equal amount of water. Put semolina in a large, heavy saucepan and stir in the diluted coconut milk gradually, keeping the mixture free from lumps.

Add the sugar, put over medium heat and stir while bringing to the boil. When the mixture boils and thickens add a small amount of ghee or butter at a time and continue cooking until mixture becomes very thick and leaves the sides of the pan. Add salt and ground cardamom and mix well. Remove from heat and beat in egg yolks. Stiffly beat egg whites and fold in.

Turn mixture into a buttered 22 cm (9 in) square cake pan or ovenproof dish and smooth the top. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds liberally over semolina mixture. Bake at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F) for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until well risen and golden brown. Cool in the dish, then cut into large diamond-shaped pieces.

Serve as a sweet snack or dessert.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)