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Samali recipe (Extra syrupy Greek semolina cake with mastic)

Samali recipe (Extra syrupy Greek semolina cake with mastic)

on 5 Feb, 2016



  • 2 and 1/2 cups coarse semolina (or 1 1/2 coarse and 1 thin)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground mastic resin
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3-4 tbsps butter, melted
  • blanched almonds, for garnish

For the syrup


  • 2 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1/2 tsp rose water (or vanilla extract or mastic or 1 cinnamon stick)




  1. To prepare this Greek semolina cake recipe (samali), use pestle or a blender to ground the masticha, along with a pinch of sugar and set aside. (Mastic will give Greek semolina cake its distinctive taste and amazing smell. But be careful not to add any more mastic than this samali recipe calls for, as it will leave a slightly bitter taste to your Greek semolina cake).
  2. Place the yogurt in a bowl and add the baking soda. Blend to combine and set aside. In another bowl add the semolina, sugar, ground mastic and baking powder and blend with a spoon to combine. Add the yogurt mixture in the semolina mixture and whisk until the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients combine.
  3. For this Greek semolina cake recipe (samali) you will need a large baking pan, approx. 38*28cm. Butter the bottom and sides of the pan and pour in the mixture. The mixture for this Greek semolina cake is a little bit tight (not liquid) so even out the surface of the samali using a wet spatula.
  4. Cover the samali (Greek semolina cake) with a towel and let it rest for 3 hours.
  5. Using a knife score the Greek semolina cake into little individual pieces and garnish with blanched almonds. Bake the samali in preheated oven at 180C for 35-40 minutes, until nicely coloured and cooked through.
  6. In the meantime prepare the syrup for the Greek semolina cake. In a small pot add all the ingredients for the syrup and bring to the boil. Let the syrup boil for 2-3 minutes, until the sugar was dissolved and the syrup has slightly thickened. Set aside to cool.
  7. Turn the cake out of the oven and using a cooking brush, brush the top with the melted butter. Ladle slowly the cold syrup over the hot samali cake, allowing each ladle of syrup to be absorbed, before ladling again. Allow time for the syrup to be absorbed. Let the samali cake cool down completely before serving.
  8. Serve this extra syrupy Greek semolina cake with a full spoon of kaimaki or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!