Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings of durumwheat used in making pasta, and also used for breakfast cereals and puddings. Semolina is also used to designate coarse middlings from other varieties of wheat, and from other grains such as rice and corn.

Semolina (Indian name is Rava). Author: Sanjay ach


The term semolina derives from the Italian word "semola" that derives from the ancient Latin simila, meaning "flour," itself a borrowing from Greek σεμῖδαλις (semidalis), "groats". The words simila, semidalis, groat, and grain may all have their origins from two Sanskrit terms for wheat, "samita" and "godhuma". Semolina may also be a loan word from the Semitic root smd - to grind into groats (Arabic: سميدsamīd, IPA: [saˈmiːd]).


Modern milling of wheat into flour is a process that employs grooved steel rollers. The rollers are adjusted so that the space between them is slightly narrower than the width of the wheat kernels. As the wheat is fed into the mill, the rollers flake off the bran and germ while the starch (or endosperm) is cracked into coarse pieces in the process. Through sifting, these particles are separated from the bran and this is semolina. The semolina is then ground into flour. This greatly simplifies the process of separating the endosperm from the bran and germ, as well as making it possible to separate the endosperm into different grades due to the fact that the inner part of the endosperm tends to break down into smaller pieces than the outer part. Different grades of flour can be thus produced.[1]

Semolina grains in close-up. Author: Sanjay ach


Semolina made from durum wheat is yellow in color. It is usually the basis for dried products such as couscous, which is made by mixing roughly 2 parts semolina with 1 part durum flour (finely ground semolina).[2]

When flour comes from softer types of wheats it is white in color. In this case the correct name is flour, not semolina which comes only from durum wheat. In the United States, coarser meal coming from softer types of wheats is known also as farina or by the trade nameCream of Wheat. In Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania, it is known as Grieß (a word related to "grits") and is mixed with egg to make grießknödel which can be added to soup. It may also be cooked with water or milk and sweetened with squares of chocolate to make the breakfast dish "Grießkoch." The particles are fairly coarse, between 0.25 and 0.75 millimeters in diameter.

When boiled, it turns into a soft, mushy porridge. This flour is popular in northwestern Europe and North America as a dessert, boiled with milk and sweetened, called semolina pudding. It is often flavored with vanilla and served with jam. In Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Russia, it is eaten as breakfast porridge, sometimes mixed with raisins and served with milk. In Swedish it is known as mannagrynsgröt, or boiled together with bilberries, as blåbärsgröt. In Sweden, Estonia and Finland it's boiled together with juice from berries and then whipped into a light, airy consistency to create klappgröt (Swedish name) or vispipuuro (Finnish name) or mannavaht (Estonian name) - a dessert which is usually eaten in summer. In the Middle East, it is used to make desserts called Harisa or so called Basbosa or Nammora.

More broadly speaking, meal produced from grains other than wheat may also be referred to as semolina, e.g. rice semolina, or corn semolina (more commonly known as grits in the U.S.)

In South India, semolina is used to make savory foods like rava dosa and upma or sweets like sheera. It is sometimes also used to coat slices of fish, before it is pan fried in oil, which gives it a crispy coating. In North India it is used for sweets such as suji halwa. A popular dessert in Greece ("Halvas"), Cyprus ("Halouvas" or "Helva"), Turkey ("Helva"), Iran ("Halva"), Pakistan ("Halva"), and Arab countries ("Halwa") is sometimes made with semolina scorched with sugar, butter, milk, and pine nuts. Basbousa (North African and Alexandrineharisa) is made chiefly of semolina. (Palestine)Semolina (Arabic:smeed)is the main ingredient in Nabulsi Kanafa. In some cultures, it is served at funerals, during special celebrations, or as a religious offering. In much of North Africa, durum semolina is made into the staple couscous.[3]

As an alternative to corn meal, semolina can be used to flour the baking surface to prevent sticking. In bread making, a small proportion of durum semolina added to the usual mix of flour produces a tasty crust.

Semolina, unenriched
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy1,506 kJ (360 kcal)
Carbohydrates72.83 g
- Dietary fiber3.9 g
Fat1.05 g
- saturated0.15 g
- monounsaturated0.124 g
- polyunsaturated0.43 g
Protein12.68 g
Water12.67 g
Vitamin A equiv.0 μg (0%)
Thiamine (vit. B1)0.28 mg (24%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)0.08 mg (7%)
Niacin (vit. B3)3.31 mg (22%)
Vitamin B60.1 mg (8%)
Folate (vit. B9)72 μg (18%)
Vitamin B120 μg (0%)
Vitamin C0 mg (0%)
Calcium17 mg (2%)
Iron1.23 mg (9%)
Magnesium47 mg (13%)
Phosphorus136 mg (19%)
Potassium186 mg (4%)
Sodium1 mg (0%)
Zinc1.05 mg (11%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

  1. ^ Wayne Gisslen (2001), Professional Baking, John Wiley & Sons
  2. ^Grain product basics – semolina and couscous
  3. ^ Semolina popularly referred as SEMO is a common food in West Africa especially among Nigerians. It is eaten as either lunch or dinner with stew or soup. It is prepared just like Eba (Cassava Flour) or Fufu with water and boiled for 5 to 10 minutes. "Couscous". Retrieved 2008-05-12.

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