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Vegan Hareeseh


Moist and sweet coconut semolina cake, drenched in a rosewater simple syrup. An irresistible treat to enjoy with your coffee or tea. This vegan Hareeseh is an easy one to make. It’s a popular dessert enjoyed on Ramadan nights.

Coconut Semolina Cake in pan.
Vegan Hareeseh (Coconut Semolina Cake)

What Is Hareeseh?

Hareeseh is one of many names for this famous coconut semolina cake. Also known as Basbousa/Basbouseh, and Namoura – depending on the region/country. In Palestine and Jordan, we call it Hareeseh. While Basbousa is a more common name in Egypt and Iraq. Namoura is usually the name its known by in Lebanon.

It’s a sweet and moist semolina cake made of shredded coconuts. Topped with an almond, and drenched in a rosewater simple syrup. This dessert is often enjoyed on Ramadan nights with a cup of coffee or tea, after Iftar.

Vegan Hareeseh drizzled with simple syrup.
Vegan Hareeseh drizzled with simple syrup

Disclaimer: Traditional Hareeseh has a solid golden crust on top and bottom. When air frying, you might lost the bottom crust – depending on your air fryer basket size and shape. However, the taste will not be affected by this change.


About The Recipe

  • Easy to make
  • Moist and sweet
  • Vegan | Plant Based
  • Ramadan Dessert
Vegan Hareeseh/Basbousa/Namoura
Vegan Hareeseh (Coconut Semolina Cake)

Ingredients You Need

For the Cake Batter

  • Fine semolina: Use semolina #1

  • Coconut oil: Melted and cooled down to rub and coat the semolina.

  • Sugar

  • Shredded coconut: Unsweetened. If using coconut flakes, blend into small shreds.

  • Baking powder

  • Vegan yoghurt: Unsweetened oat-based yoghurt works great for a rich texture. Any plant yoghurt will do.

  • Vegan Buttermilk: Whisk plant milk with apple cider vinegar. This helps in making the Hareeseh light and fluffy.

  • Vegan butter

  • Rosewater
Vegan Hareeseh ingredients
Vegan Hareeseh Ingredients

Note: The wet ingredients need to be at room temperature before mixing in the batter.


Video Recipe

Watch this step-by-step video recipe for how to make vegan Hareeseh here:


Substitutions

  • Ghee: Hareeseh is traditionally made with Ghee (clarified butter). While it’s possible to make vegan Ghee, it can be a long process. To veganize the Hareeseh without Ghee, we use coconut oil and vegan butter in the cake batter.

  • Coconut oil: If not available, you can use vegetable oil to rub and coat the semolina.

  • Rosewater: Use orange blossom water instead, if rosewater is not available.

Simple Syrup

This Hareeseh recipe calls for 1 cup of simple syrup (Atterr). You can make the Atterr ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 3 months – See notes section in the recipe card.

Rosewater Simple Syrup
Rosewater Simple syrup (Atterr)

Here’s a quick video for how to make the simple syrup:

Note: The simple syrup has to be cooled down to room temperature before the Hareeseh is finished baking.


Expert Tips

For extra moist Hareeseh: Rub the fine semolina with melted coconut oil to coat it all in fat before mixing the remaining ingredients for the cake batter.

Allow the cake batter to soak up the flavours: Let it sit for 15 minutes in the bowl before emptying into a pan to bake.

Generously grease the pan: To avoid burning/sticking to the pan, grease the bottom and sides with a generous amount of tahini. Brush the top of the batter with tahini again to give the Hareeseh its nice golden crust.

Coconut Semolina Cake in pan.
Coconut Semolina Cake (Vegan Hareeseh)

FAQs

Why is my Hareeseh sticking to the pan?
Brush with generous amount of tahini on the bottom and sides of the pan to avoid burning the bottom/sticking to the pan.

How do I get the golden crust on top of Hareeseh?
Lightly brush the top of the Hareeseh batter with tahini before baking. This helps spread the batter evenly, and give it a nice golden colour on top.

Why is the cake coming out too dense?
If the wet ingredients are still cold when mixing in the batter, it might result in a dense texture to the Hareeseh. Make sure to have the wet ingredients at room temperature, before adding to the batter.


Related Recipes

Find more vegan dessert recipes to make during Ramadan:

Ruz b Halib - Syrian Rice Pudding
Ruz b Halib (Syrian Rice Pudding)
Vegan Atayef (Qatayef) - Middle Eastern Pancakes - Arabic Ramadan Desserts
Atayef (Middle Eastern Pancakes)

Vegan Hareeseh Recipe

If you have any questions about this recipe, or gave it a try, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Remember to rate the recipe with ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. This will help us sustain Plant Based Arab.

Snap a photo of your dish, and tag us on Instagram @PlantBasedArab, so we can see and share your remake!

Vegan Hareeseh

Recipe by Waseem HijaziCourse: Desserts, SweetsCuisine: Arab, Middle Eastern, RamadanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

16

pieces
Prep time

10

minutes
Baking time

35

minutes
Resting/Cooling

1

hour 
Total time

1

hour 

45

minutes

Moist and sweet coconut semolina cake, drenched in a rosewater simple syrup. An irresistible treat to enjoy with your coffee or tea. This vegan Hareeseh is an easy one to make. It’s a popular dessert enjoyed on Ramadan nights.

Ingredients

  • For the Cake Batter
  • 1 cup fine semolina (#1)

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegan yoghurt, unsweetened

  • 1/3 cup plant milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 35g vegan butter

  • 1 tbsp rosewater/orange blossom water (optional)

  • For the Simple Syrup (Atterr)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 tsp rosewater (or orange blossom water)

  • The Rest
  • 3 to 4 tbsp tahini (more to grease pan if needed)

  • 1/8 cup blanched and peeled almonds, halved – See Notes (1)

  • 1 cup of the Simple Syrup (from above) – See Notes (2)

Directions

  • Making the Simple Syrup
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the sugar and water until dissolved.
  • Bring it to a boil while whisking continuously. Turn the heat to low. Continue cooking for 20 minutes, as you continue whisking frequently.
  • Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice and rose water. Whisk again, then empty into a large bowl to cool down completely before using – must be at room temperature.
  • Making the Hareeseh
  • Add the semolina to a large bowl. Stir in the coconut oil. Mix and rub by hand until it’s sand-like.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Whisk using a hand/stand mixer for a minute to combine. Don’t over mix it. Fluff it with a spatula to release any air bubbles. See Notes (4)
  • Preheat the oven to 350F (or 175C). Grease a 9×9 brownie pan with a generous amount of tahini – sides and bottom. Or use an air fryer basket (without the wire rack).
  • Empty the cake batter into the pan/basket by adding small amounts using a spatula. Gently spread to the sides, adding more scoops of the batter on top to repeat. Add 1 to 2 tbsp tahini on top and scrape to an even layer.
  • Shape the Hareeseh by cutting straight lines horizontally using a knife, then either vertically or diagonally (for square or diamond shapes). Add half a peeled almond to the centre of each piece.
  • Bake for 35 minutes – checking at the 30 minute mark. Top should be browned and solid. Toothpick should come out clean. See Notes (5)
  • Cut through the pre-cut lines, then immediately drench the hot Hareeseh in cool simple syrup. Let sit to soak up for at least an hour, before removing from the pan. Allow to cool down before serving. See Notes (6)

Notes

  • (1) If using unpeeled almonds, make sure to allow for more time to blanch, cool, and peel – before the batter is ready to bake.
  • (2) This recipe calls for 1 cup of Atterr to drench the Hareeseh. Use more for desired sweetness. Store the extra simple syrup in air tight mason jars to chill in the fridge for up to 3 months – most fresh within 30 days
  • (3) Make sure the wet ingredients are at room temperature before working with the batter.
  • (4) For enhanced flavours, allow the batter to sit for 15 minutes after combining (before emptying into the baking pan).
  • (5) Bake vs. Air fry: I don’t have a working oven. So I use my air fryer (at the bake option). Because of its smaller basket size, timing may vary for your own oven/air fryer. Adjust accordingly.
  • (6)  The longer you allow the Hareeseh to soak in the simple syrup, the more moist and flavourful it is.
  • (7)  Disclaimer: Traditional Hareeseh has a solid crust on top and bottom. When air frying, you might lost the bottom crust – depending on your air fryer basket size and shape. However, the taste will not be affected by this change.
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[…] more vegan Arabic dessert recipes for any day. Try this Coconut Semolina Cake (called Hareeseh, or Basbousa). Or these crunchy and sweet Fried Dough Balls (called […]

Giselle
Giselle

I just made this cake yesterday and I loved it! It was easy to put together and so delicious!

I tweaked the syrup recipe slightly…..I used orange juice, sugar, and vegan butter.

Indulging in a slice just now for breakfast 😊