semolina

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Also Known as
Rawa, sooji, rava

Description
Semolina is a very gritty, coarse type of flour, usually made from wheat however the term is also applied to maize. It contains the nutritious heart (endosperm) of the grain, which is left behind during milling when the finer flour is sifted. Semolina is made from durum wheat, a hard variety of wheat quite unlike the wheat used to make bread. Durum semolina is commonly used in the manufacturing of pasta because of its high gluten content, which gives the pasta its pleasant taste and ensures that it retains its shape during the cooking process.

How to Select
Semolina is milled to various degrees of coarseness. You can find finely grained semolina , medium grained and big grained semolina. Check to see whether the semolina you are buying is made from soft wheat or hard wheat (the durum variety) - the latter is what you need for gnocchi, pasta and home-made couscous.

Culinary Uses
· It can be used as an alternative to corn meal to flour the underside of fresh pizza dough to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
· In bread making, a small proportion of semolina added to the usual mix of flour produces a tasty crust.
· Semolina is traditionally associated with baked milk puddings and school dinners; however there are many more exotic ways to use it.
· When boiled, it turns into a softer pudding.
· This semolina is popular in North Western Europe and North America as a dessert, boiled with milk, and sweetened. It is often flavoured with vanilla and served with jam
· South Indian cuisine sees semolina used for kesari, a softly spiced dessert-cum-sweetmeat cooked with milk, cashews and dried fruit, as well as upma, a savoury dish somewhere between a pilaf and polenta, flavoured with spices and served for breakfast or as a snack.
· Italians use semolina ground from hard durum wheat in the manufacture of gnocchi, and pasta (when it's sprinkled on to prevent sticking).
· It is also employed to make couscous, soups and dumplings and can be substituted for some of the regular flour in cakes and biscuits to give a crisp, crunchy texture - especially scrumptious with shortbread.
· Semolina is commonly used in the manufacturing of pasta and gives the pasta its pleasant taste and texture, but can also be used quite effectively to thicken stews, as a base for soufflé, as a hot cereal or as a cooked meal on its own. Cooked and dried, it is used to make couscous, which is cooked like rice.

How to Store
To ensure semolina flour is always at its best for use store in a cool, dry cupboard, preferably in an airtight container. Flour is always readily available so it should only be brought in quantities that will last a maximum of two to three months. If it is necessary to store flour for extended periods of time we recommend that the flour is kept in the freezer. It is better not to mix new flour with old if you are not using the flour regularly. Make sure bags are secure to prevent infestation by the flour moth or beetle.

Health Benefits
· This low-fat, high carbohydrate food offers a lot of energy along with a variety of other nutrients
· It is low in cholesterol and sodium and fairly high in fibre and can be safely incorporated into a well-balanced diet.
· Semolina is high in protein, very high in complex carbohydrates and fairly high in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and fibre, with some iron, zinc, manganese and copper.
· It is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and contains zero trans fatty acids.
· It is high in vitamin E and contains a fair amount of the B complex vitamins (especially folic acid).
· Because semolina is made from durum wheat and not the softer wheat that goes into bread, it is digested more slowly and has a low glycemic index, which is good news for people wishing to control or reduce their weight and blood sugar, and especially for diabetics.
· The high carbohydrate content makes semolina an ideal food for active, energetic people.
· Especially significant are potassium, which supports good kidney and heart function and the smooth function of other muscles, phosphorus, required by the body to metabolize energy, magnesium for healthy muscles, bones and nerves, calcium for strong bones and zinc to boost the immune system.




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