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Hilbeh (Fenugreek seed Semolina cake)

hilbeh cut into diamonds on a baking sheet with an almond in the center of each

Hi everyone! How are you guys enjoying your 3 day weekend? I go back to Chicago later tonight and I am already missing my family by just the thought of leaving. I did promise you my mama’s hilbeh recipe before I left and here it is! Hilbeh is one of those Middle Eastern desserts that you either love or hate. Some people do not like the smell of the fenugreek seeds but it doesn’t bother me. The cake itself is not sweet at all. The syrup is what adds the sweetness to this dessert. Fenugreek seeds actually have severeal benefits. Its great for decreasing inflammation and cholestorol. It is said to improve digestive health and so much more. So, I guess you can feel a little less guiltier when indulging with this dessert.

Servings: 30-40 pieces

Total Time: approx. 2 hours (1 hour rest, 30 min bake, 20-30 min prep)


2 cups coarse semolina flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup melted unsalted butter

3 tbsp fenugreek seeds (hilbeh)

1 tbsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

2 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds


3 cups sugar

2 cup water

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • Mix together and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes till sticky.


  • Boil the seeds in a pot with one cup of water for at least 10 minutes until tender. Take the seeds out but keep water to the side. Do not discard the water.
  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Mix together everything but the yeast.
  • In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, and 2 tbsp water. Mix together. Set aside for 5 minutes. Then mix in with the rest of the batter.
  • If the dough seems on the tougher side, slowly add some of the water lefover from the seeds till softer and easier to work with.
  • Spray pan with olive oil. Add the batter and spread out. Let it rest covered in plastic wrap on room temperature for one hour. Then slice the pieces before placing in the oven.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes. Then broil for 2 minutes for a golden brown color.
  • Once out of the oven, soak in the syrup which should be cold by now. Enjoy!

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  1. Fenugreek is also great for improving milk supply for breastfeeding moms šŸ˜Š Iā€™m definitely going to try this InshaAllah šŸ˜Š

  2. This dessert was a big hit with my family. I was worried the flavor would be too strong, but everyone loved the texture, the black seed and the sweetness was perfect. I thought the syrup was too much in the beginning, but after it sets for a while, it all gets absorbed. Thank you!

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