Semolina vs. Farina, aka Sooji

We eat a lot of Indian food at home, and often look up recipes online. Common ingredients include semolina and farina. Indian words for farina include sooji and rava, and it is also commonly referred to as Cream of Wheat, though this is a brand name and not exactly the same thing. Strange then that many expert Indian cooks don't seem to recognize the difference between these ingredients! I see the ingredients referred to incorrectly everywhere on the web.

 What most American cooks call semolina is not sooji. Semolina is yellow, is made from hard durum wheat, and is the primary ingredient of Italian pasta. The American word for sooji is farina. Farina is white, is made from soft wheat, and is the primary ingredient of Cream of Wheat. If you make a semolina cake with farina, the result will be mushy. And what you want for upma is not semolina, it's farina, i.e. sooji or rava. It is a difference that matters. Indian stores tend to sell both products. That's another reason why it is strange that so many experts don't seem to know the difference!

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