The first time i had sooji biscuits, they were thrusted into my hands, freshly baked no less, with my mum exclaiming how good they were. She had just stepped out of her friend’s place, armed with a whole tub of these tiny little balls. I had no idea what they were but they sure smelled incredibly good. One biscuit- one crunchy, buttery biscuit- was all it took. I was hooked.
According to the ever trusty Wikipedia, what’s known as sooji in India is semolina to the rest of the world. I really am not too fond of semolina, after having to use up an entire bag of semolina my sister had purchased by mistake. Long story short, that loaf of semolina bread- sans a tiny chunk for taste testing purposes- resides in the deep far end of my freezer, hoping it’ll see the light of the day someday. Yeah sure. someday in Neverland maybe.
So i guess it’s a good (although very odd) thing that this particular recipe i chanced upon didn’t call for any semolina at all. It did however call for an entire tub of ghee, or clarified butter commonly used in Indian cooking. But if that’s what it takes to get my little buttery balls of goodness, that was what i was going to use. Oddly enough as well, one of the steps the recipe included was to leave the biscuit mixture at room temperature for four hours before baking. I don’t know what the reason for leaving the dough out is but skipping that whole waiting process didn’t seem to have affected the texture of the biscuits.
They were exactly like how i remembered my first sooji biscuit to be- except so much better. I intentionally underbaked them just a little; they firmed up as they cooled so they had a buttery, melt in your mouth feel.
Be warned though that given the size of these tiny babies, the recipe makes a hell lot of cookies (i easily got 300). But their tiny size (as all minute things go, they trick you into doubting how much harm can one or two or fifty of them can do till you polished off the entire bottle- not that i would know) and their irresistible texture, they will disappear a lot faster than you think.
Sooji Biscuits [adapted from Mrs Leong Yee Soo's Singaporean Cooking]
455g ghee (i used an entire tub of QBB ghee)
340g icing sugar
795g plain flour
Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 120C. Line as many baking trays as you have with aluminum foil and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, cream ghee and icing sugar together for about 5 minutes. Slowly add flour and salt, mixing till a soft dough forms.
- With slightly moistened hands, shape 1/4 teaspoonfuls of dough into little balls. Place them about 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake a tray at a time for about 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway through. The biscuits should have an ivory tinge and still be a little soft when you take them out of the oven- they will firm up as they cool. Makes easily 300 little biscuits