Thursday, September 30, 2010

Semolina Tutorial.

This old friend, my bag-of-semolina, has been sitting in my pantry for ages. Ok, not ages exactly, but a couple of months. Unopened. I know, it seems phenomenal. But I only crave semolina in cold weather, or times like now, when I have an upset stomach from too much quince bake (more on that later)... I still get hungry when I'm feeling sick, unfortunately, and semolina is the ultimate in comfort food. It's soft and creamy, mild in flavour but substantial enough to leave you satisfied. I ate semolina almost every morning last Winter, sitting on the cold tiles of the kitchen bench, back pressed against the window to catch and stray sunlight. I mentioned it in passing to Tash recently, and she said I should put up a recipe here so that she, too, can share in the goodness. It's incredibly simple, so I'm going to make it look much more complicated by including step-by-step photos. Apologies for the quality; I had to have the stove lamp on because it's late at night and our kitchen light isn't very bright. Bear with me, here.

Into a small saucepan or pot, place 1/3 cup semolina, 3/4 cup soymilk/milk and 3/4 cup water. I cheat and boil the kettle so that it cooks faster. If you're making a cup of tea in the morning, then really it's the most effective way of having both tea and semolina in the table at the same time. Turn the heat up - the higher it is, the faster it cooks, but you'll need to be a little careful later on.

After a few minutes, the semolina is thickening nicely. Some people choose to stop the cooking here and eat it soupy, as though it were a congee. Needless to say, I'm not one of those people. Semolina, like it's hip cousin Polenta or my darling favourite Custard, should be eaten thick. ('Pouring' custard is a travesty and should be outlawed.) If it falls off my spoon, then it's too thin. I wait until after the mixture has reached boiling point. You might not want to do that if you use real milk, but I use soy, so I can cook it to as hot as I like. Be careful, though, because if it's really thick then it will spit a little. Remember that it will thicken as it cools, so really you can stop the cooking process a little earlier than your 'perfect' consistency.

This is how I like my semolina: if I can draw a spoon through it and actually see the bottom of the pot for a second before it closes over, then I can take it from the heat. I'm actually very quick about the spoon-action here, contrary to the photography. (I had to take a photo like 4 times to get one that captured the exact moment the pot was showing.)

When in doubt, this is how you know it's good. The semolina is thick and falls into a pile before slowly oozing back into the rest of the pot, instead of streaming off of the spoon as it did only a few minutes earlier.

When my semolina holds its shape like the photo above, I generally move it into a bowl. Some people like to drizzle it with a little more milk and a sprinkling of sugar. I'll confess that on occasion, I've eaten semolina as a dessert, cooked exactly as above except drizzled with a touch of maple syrup. (We all know that maple syrup is far superior to every other sugar in existence, though I think palm sugar deserves an honourable mention too.) Generally I just eat it straight - and some nights, when I have an upset stomach and a strong case of laziness, I just eat it straight from the pot.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I will have to buy some as weather is getting colder (as you know). My new kitchen has better cupboards but not such nice light. Haven't moved properly yet.Tomorrow it gets 'professionally' cleaned ie an old couple who get paid. At least they can deal with the new organism Matt found growing in the microwave. So disgusted I can't even photograph it, though I did peak is orange.


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