Desserts, Middle Eastern Recipes

Namoura (Harissa)

Melt in your mouth namoura where each diamond-shaped piece is topped with almond

Namoura is a classic dessert that is loved across the Middle East, and you’ll love my easy recipe just as much! It is so popular that it has been adopted in many countries. This semolina cake is typically baked and contains yogurt, coconut, and butter, topped with almonds, and then soaked in simple sugar syrup.

Namoura is a rich dessert that tickle those taste buds. It is also a perfect dessert after a long hectic day of fasting and a hearty iftar in Ramadan. Soft, chewy, and sweet, my Namoura/Harissa recipe, will transport you back to your childhood when teta used to make it or bring it fresh from the homeland.


A piece of diamond shaped Namoura topped with an almond.
Dig in!


Namoura is a dessert that is widely known across the Middle East and so it is called by different names depending on the country. In Egypt, it is called Basbousa, whereas in Palestine it is called Harissa or Hareesa.

In Lebanon, it is known as Namoura or Namoora. Countries like Armenia, Iran, and even Greece have their own adapted versions of it.

Namoura, also known as syrup-soaked semolina cake is flavored with orange blossom simple syrup and topped with almonds. It is usually cut into square or diamond patterns.

The fancy appearance of this dessert should not deceive you into thinking it is difficult to prepare! It is very easy to achieve if you follow the exact measurements and steps.





Pro Tips

Make sure to preheat your oven to 350F.

It is up to you if you want to add or omit almonds.

I used a half-sheet pan because I like my Harissa thin. If you want yours to be thicker, you could use a smaller pan.

Using fine semolina will result in a soft, melt-in-your-mouth Namoura, but if you prefer more of a crunchy exterior, use coarse semolina.

The amount of liquid required depends on the type of semolina you choose.

Keep a close eye on it as it broils, if you overcook it, your Harissa will be dry and crunchy. Remember that it should be soft.


A golden piece of diamond shaped Basbousa soaked with Qater, topped with almonds.
Sweet and crunchy


A tray of baked Namoura, topped with peeled almonds.
Golden crumbs and sweet syrup

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does Namoora last?

Your syrup-soaked semolina cake keeps well for up to 5 days, stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Can I make Namoura without eggs?

Although some people make it without eggs, I prefer it with. Eggs add the perfect fluff to the namoura.
You can try subbing the eggs with 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, and about 1/4 cup yogurt or 1 can kishta. It will not provide the same results.

Can Namoura be made vegan?

Yes, you can make it vegan! What you have to do is omit eggs, and use plant-based butter and yogurt. However, it would likely change the texture.


A thin piece of Harissa, perfectly soaked with orange blossom sugar syrup.
Simple Sweetness

Semolina: I recommend using coarse semolina for this recipe.

Unsweetened shredded coconut: Adds a hint of light coconut flavor.

Baking powder: It gives your semolina cake a lift.

Sugar: The sweetness comes from the simple syrup, so you don’t have to add too much.

Flour: I used all-purpose flour.

Butter: Use unsalted butter.

Neutral oil: You could use any of your choice; canola oil or vegetable oil are great.

Large eggs: If you prefer yours eggless, then feel free to skip it.

Yogurt: I recommend plain whole-milk yogurt.

Vanilla: To add some flavor.

Tahini: For the pan.

Almonds: Optional, it adds a slight crunch.

Simple Syrup, Qater

Sugar: It is the main ingredient that gives your syrup a sweet flavor.

Lemon Juice: To dissolve the sugar.

Orange Blossom Water: For the flavor twist.

Water: This helps in mixing the ingredients well and thinning the syrup.


Simple syrup soaked Basbousa topped with crunchy almonds.
The sweet story of Namoura


If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience. You can follow me on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.


For serving, Namoura is cut in diamond shaped pieces

Namoura (harissa)

Fatimah
Namoura, Harissa, or Basbousa, is a semolina cake, soaked with aromatic simple syrup. It is a popular dessert across the Middle East that you will absolutely enjoy.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Calories 4812 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • cups coarse semolina
  • ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (sometimes called macaron coconut)
  • tablespoons baking powder
  • cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted (1 stick)
  • ½ cup neutral oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons tahini for the pan

For Simple Syrup

  • cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water

Instructions
 

For Simple Syrup

  • Add the sugar and water to a pot and let it come to a boil on medium heat.
  • Stir to remove sugar buildup on the bottom of the pot.
  • Once it starts boiling, add the orange blossom and lemon.
  • Let it boil for 15 minutes before removing it from the heat.

For Namoura

  • Mix the baking powder, sugar, semolina, and coconut together.
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt, melted butter, vanilla, milk, and oil together.
  • Pour on top of the dry mixture and mix until well combined. You should have a soft dough.
  • Take your half sheet pan and spread the tahini on it and spread it to the edges, making sure it’s all well coated.
  • Add the batter and press evenly.
  • Let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • After an hour has passed, cut it into square or diamond patterns.
  • This step is optional, but you can add almonds to the center of each piece now.
  • Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, and check the edges to make sure they brown.
  • Then, turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes only so it doesn’t burn. Mine baked for 22 minutes and broiled for 4.
  • Once out of the oven, reinforce the cuts (cuts the lines again) and immediately pour 2 cups of simple syrup on top, making sure to get every piece.
  • Cover tightly and let it sit for 4 hours before serving so the semolina soaks up the Qater.
  • Serve up and enjoy!

Notes

  • Make sure to preheat your oven to 350F.
  • It is up to you if you want to add or omit almonds.
  • I used a half sheet pan because I like my Harissa thin. If you want yours to be thicker, you could use a smaller pan.
  • Using fine semolina will result in a soft, melt-in-your-mouth Namoura, but if you prefer more of a crunchy exterior, use coarse semolina.
  • The amount of liquid required depends on the type of semolina you choose.
  • Make sure to keep a close eye on it as it broils, if you overcook it, your Harissa will be crunchy. Remember that it should be soft.
  • Remember, Namoura/Harissa is best next day, so the semolina has time to soak up all the syrup and soften.

Nutrition

Calories: 4812kcalCarbohydrates: 835gProtein: 25gFat: 173gSaturated Fat: 108gPolyunsaturated Fat: 15gMonounsaturated Fat: 37gTrans Fat: 4gCholesterol: 283mgSodium: 2131mgPotassium: 1125mgFiber: 14gSugar: 787gVitamin A: 3208IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 1606mgIron: 8mg
Keyword Hareesa, Harissa, Namoura
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

3 thoughts on “Namoura (Harissa)

  1. Muna says:

    5 stars
    Hey, Ive tried so many basbousa variations but this recipe is the ONE! Comes out perfect each time.

  2. Candice says:

    5 stars
    Seriously perfect harisa recipe; it’s slightly crunchy to the bite and so soft inside and full of flavor you will never try another harisa recipe again! I left out the coconut and kept everything the same and it was still just as good (for those who don’t like coconut or don’t have on hand) but I recommend using 😋

  3. Candice says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely perfect recipe; it’s slightly crunchy to the bite and so soft inside and full of flavor you will never try another harisa recipe again! I left out the coconut and kept everything the same and it was still just as good (for those who don’t like coconut or don’t have on hand) but I recommend using 😋

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