Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I went on a quest for a sugee/semolina cookie recipe.

You know, the ones we get from the roti man with his quirky honk every evening, years ago (ok.... decades ago) when he did his rounds. And when we (the little kids and teenagers) would rush out to meet him halfway in someone else's driveway. Coins tingling or dollar notes flapping, eyes searching, voices squealing, fingers pointing at this and that. It was a time when queuing didn't exist (yes..we were wild).

And I would always reach for the sugee cookie. The big round sugee cookie that melted in your mouth as soon as you put it in. And then wished that you had bought 2 of them right after the roti man had throttled off, the only vestige of his existence being the smell of the exhaust fumes from his motorcycle. Yes, that semolina cookie but which were called the sugee cookie.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the sugee cookie that the roti man was selling, the one that I had been gobbling down every evening for a few years of my life until more pressing matters pushed that cookie, crumbs and all, into an amnesiac nook of my brain, only to surface again in 2009, was not a sugee cookie at all. In the sense that it contained no sugee/semolina.

What a dissapointing surprise. It was ghee that I had been gobbling down and salivating over. Just pure ghee and flour and sugar. So why did they call it a sugee cookie? Why why and why?

Not that I have anything against ghee, except for the cholesterol in it, but I couldn't help but feel somewhat betrayed. If you know what I mean. It's like having chomped down on a butter cake and it was actually not butter but magarine. Or a steak that was not meat but tofu in disguise. Or having been told that it was a chocolate cake when it was carob that they used. Or when you reached home thinking of the kuih dadar on the table but it was not there.

So the roti man's sugee cookie is no longer my friend. No matter how good it was I want sugee in my sugee cookie like I want butter in my butter cookie or chocolate in my chocolate cookie.

So in my quest for a true semolina/sugee cookie I found a recipe at Recipezaar. I have made these twice since. Once using white sugar and today I had followed the original recipe and used brown sugar. Both times I found them a little too sweet but otherwise very crunchy, addictive and good looking. I would reduce the sugar a little next time.

The brown sugar resulted in a darker, more golden and flatter cookie while the one with white sugar was fair and lovely :). It's your choice. I prefer the one with white sugar.

The recipe.....the original...

4 oz butter
75 gm soft brown sugar
100 gm plain flour
75 gm semolina
25 gm ground almonds

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in flour and mix well. Add the semolina and ground almonds and mix to a firm and smooth dough. Pinch balls of dough, place on a lined or greased baking tray and then flatten each ball with a fork.

Swipe with some egg white and place a slice of almond on it or a whole almond if you're feeling perky. Bake for about 10 mins in 180 C oven until golden brown. Keep in an airtight container.

These are the ones I made with white sugar a few months back. Aren't they pretty as well?


Nadia said...

i love the ribbony pic!!! i was thinking of your blog while i was maming sambal tumis udaactually ..and all this while ive been using the black compiterand that one....the word verification doesn't show up so I can never leave a comment when i use that..so i consciously used the white computer LOL justso i can leave a comment on your blog LOL pathetic nya lololololol

the roti man jual kuih sugeee??? wow i never knew that..

Through My Kitchen Window said...

So nice to meet you in cyberspace Zurin.

My what an evocative story you tell. I sensed the whole time your personal meaning attached to the sugee and the roti man and the letdown and betrayal you felt.

To your credit it looks like you have found the "dinky di" recipe.
They look gorgeous.

I see that you own a collection of australian womens weekly cookbooks. I agree they are invaluable; I own heaps too. But these days I love cookbooks and stories. A bit like your sugee story. I'll be seeing you.

charmaine said...

hi Zurin! i'm happy that you liked the cakes. what do you call these cookies, shugee? i have never heard of this kind of cookie. i was wondering, but i'm not for sure, are these cookies those delicious cookies you get from the Asian restaurants? if not, they look similar. i use to love those as a child. thanks for the recipe. i'm a true cookie monster at heart so i'll be trying this recipe. the post below this looks mouth watering too.

God Bless,

Zurin said...

Juli, yes teh roti man sells sugee cookies n thats the only thing I bought frm him. :)I shd have used a tanslucent and bigger ribbon..it was too thin i think.

Mariana,glad u enjoyd the story. nice to know u too!

'dinky di' I didnt know what that meant so I googled and now I know! an australian expression isnt it?. how interesting..love it..i'll be using the word in my future posts.it sounds soo cute. dinky di!lol

love meeting people this way and learning new words too.see ya!

Charmaine, its pronounced su as in Sue and gee as in 'aww gee".

im nt sure if that the one they sell in asian restaurants...perhaps it is...maybe middle eastern perhaps but all I know is that its good.:)

GFAD said...

They are pretty addictive, aren't they? I prefer to make them with ghee though.

Interesting how sugee and almonds always go together. The Eurasian sugee cake has almonds. The Arabic basbousa is a sugee cake also with almonds.


Zurin said...

Kat, Yes ghee sounds good. cholesterol but good. :) n the almonds go so well wth sugee. like chocolate and me.:)

Mark David said...

Wow, I'm really impressed. Those sound like amazing. I love semolina cookie recipe. Yum! I love the texture and flavor of semolina in cookies and cakes. These sound great. I was a first time maker and was surprised at how easy it was to make. It tasts very good too. Awesome...awesome really mind blowing. I like to see it with you as you inform me.

Cecil Mabry
my site

Anonymous said...

This is biskut sugi kan?
Is semolina tepung sugi?

Zurin said...

Yes semolina is tepung suji. roti man jahat la..ate pure ghee for donkeys years

Anonymous said...

Ok I have tepung sugi in my Pantry. I tried making some sugi Bhai with it. It's the biskut sugi in the Indians in Singapore likes to eat hence Sugi Bhai.. hehe

And Oh, I am definitely NOT 25!!!
I am in my 30s. But if you want to consider me 25, dengan rela hati I terima! :)

Anonymous said...

A lovely recipie, but making them for an activity for 4 yrs olds in an infant school could they be cooked in a micro to save time?

Zurin said...

I have never baked these ina microwave so I cant say. But it takes only 10 minutes in a regular oven . Its not that long really. perhaps its doable? but thanks for asking n your interest. :))

mindy said...

i live in u.s., boston. I can find NOTHING on the web to help me understand how semolina affects a cookie. does it make it tougher/ harder/ softer? are you using "semolina flour"(the finest grind)? if you made your semolina cookies or your auntie's semolina cake- with NO semolina and only all purpose flour, what would be the effect? Thank you so much!

Zurin said...

Hi Mindy, tq for your comment.

Semolina gives a nutty texture to the cookie and cake. Its rich and has a lovely flavour that I like. Its not quite as finely ground as flour... its a weebit grainy. If its a cookie it adds an extra crunchy dimension.

If its a cake whether its dry or moist depends on teh recipe for the cake as a whole but it does add a richer nuttier dimension to it as well.

I hope that helps. Do try the recipe and perhaps you will be able to see/taste the difference. I wld urge you to try the original recipe for teh sugee cake cos the eggs are seperated and the beaten whites folded in which makes the cake lighter and do not reduce the sugar as sugar makes the cake moist. Also the original is not overly sweet anyway.

Zurin said...

Oh....If you made the cookie or cake without the semolina it wld just taste like a plain cake or cookie and will be missing teh flavour of semolina which as I said has a nutty and richer texture. and a flavour that I cant quite describe unless im having a slice or cookie right now. Do try :)))

Cheeky Monkeys said...

Hi there! Where can I find semolina finest grind in Singapore?

Zurin said...

Cheeky monkey,
i dont live in singapore so i really cant help you. perhaps you cld ask friends in singapore? So sorry.


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