Basbousa topped with walnuts
Alternative namesHarisa
Region or stateEgypt
Serving temperatureCold or warm
Main ingredientsSemolina or farina, syrup

Basbousa (Egyptian Arabic: بسبوسه, romanized: basbūsah) is a sweet, syrup-soaked semolina cake that originated in Egypt.[1][2] The semolina batter is baked in a sheet pan,[3] then sweetened with orange flower water, rose water or simple syrup, and typically cut into diamond (lozenge) shapes or squares.


Basbousa was first made during the 16th Century in the Ottoman Empire, current day Turkey to celebrate the conquering of Armenia. It was called revani and is still referred to as revani by Turkish people today. [4]

Alternatively, the Oxford Companion to Food (3rd edition) says basbousa was developed from a dish called ma'mounia which was created around the 10th century. Ma'mounia was made by cooking rice cooked in fat in syrup. This recipe was later altered to use semolina and the batter was cooked first before being soaked in syrup. [5]


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Basbousa in the Middle East, the Balkans, North Africa, East Africa topped with almonds

It is found in the cuisines of the Middle East, the Balkans and the North Africa under a variety of names.[6]

Basbousa is the most common name for this dessert in the Middle East but it may be named differently depending on the region; it is often called "hareesa" in the Levant. Note that "harissa" in North Africa is a spicy red sauce. It is a popular dessert offered in many sweets bakeries in the Middle East and especially popular in Ramadan.

vegan basbousa without eggs or milk uncle lous kitchen
Vegan basbousa (egg replaced by apple sauce)


Pastūsha (sometimes stylized as pastūçha) is a variant of basbousa that originated in Kuwait in the 2010s.[7] Like basbousa, it is made from semolina soaked in sweet syrup. It is characterized by the addition of finely ground pistachios and orange flower water.

Basbousa bil ashta: a Levantine variation of basbousa filled with ashta cream in the middle.

Vegan Basbousa: Basbusa is also available in vegan form using apple sauce to bind the base mix together instead of dairy and eggs.

Basbousa eem Tapuzim: Israeli variation from the coastal region, it is flavored with orange juice, giving it a sweeter and more aromatic flavour.

Basbousa bil Tamr: Libyan variant of basbousa where date spread is being added between two layers of the basbousa.

Tishpishti or Tichpichtil is a Sephardic Jewish variant.[8][9]

Qizha: Palestinian variant of basbousa with nigella seeds paste called Qizha.

Hilbeh: Palestinian variant of basbousa flavoured with fenugreek seeds.

Aflatoon: South Asian varient,made with semolina,eggs,dry fruits, powder milk & sugar syrup.

See also


  1. ^ The search for the perfect, aunthenic Egyptian-style basbousa, 21 May 2018, It originated in Egypt, but is also popular throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean under different names and variations like: Nammoura, Harissa and Revani
  2. ^ "Basbousa (Egyptian Semolina Cake)",, 20 July 2020
  3. ^ "Arabic Dessert". Archived from the original on 2015-02-08. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  4. ^ Umphlet, Caroline (2022-06-22). "If You Haven't Tried this Egyptian Sweet, You're Missing Out - Basbousa Recipe". Arab America. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  5. ^ Davidson, Alan; Jaine, Tom; Vannithone, Soun (2014). The Oxford companion to food (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.((cite book)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  6. ^ Abitbol, Vera (2019-09-25). "Syria: Basbousa". 196 flavors. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  7. ^ "Aunt Zaneb's Semolina Cake Recipe". Easy Recipes. 2021-10-09. Archived from the original on 2022-02-28. Retrieved 2022-02-28.
  8. ^ "Tishpishti (Citrus Semolina Cake)". Washington Post. Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  9. ^ רשליקה - Rashelika - ניחוח המטבח הירושלמי ספרדי המסורתי. 1999. pp. 82-87

Works cited