I’m obsessed with Hilbeh. The thing about it is, everything smells like it. I personally feel like I smell like Hilbeh for a good week after eating it. Does that stop me? Yes, sometimes it does. But most of the time when tata pulls this Hilbeh out of the oven and its slightly crispy and soaked in simple syrup, I cannot resist. And if I’m gonna eat one and smell like it, I might as well eat as many as I want. And that is how I finish the tray of Hilbeh in a matter of two days. You should try it sometime. It’s totally worth it.
Fenugreek seeds on their own are super bitter. Trust me and don’t bite into it. You will not enjoy it. But they get the glow up they need in this delicious cake and they have so many benefits. Especially for new moms. This is a recipe you want to keep because you just never know when you’ll need it.
So here’s the thing. I have had two great Hilbehs in my life. One was my neighbor growing up. Her Hilbeh was always perfect. And the second was Tata Im Suleimans Hilbeh. Mohammad’s tata (my bonus tata) hands down makes the best Hilbeh I have ever had. Its thick enough where its cakey but still thin enough to have a crisp to it. The fenugreek seeds are perfectly cooked and the ratio of cake to fenugreek is perfect. It’s also perfectly sweet. You cannot go wrong with this recipe. It’s so easy to make and even easier to eat.
Tata has made Hilbeh with me a few times and shes poured with her little red cup and her little coffee cup, and I would pour it back into the measuring cup to get you guys perfect measurements. A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to get to film her making it. It was the cutest video I’ve ever done and one I’m really lucky to have. I hope you’ll make this Hilbeh with as much love as she does, because honestly no one will ever be able to replicate her Hilbeh. It’s absolutely delicious.
Hilbeh – Fenugreek Cake
A soft semolina and fenugreek cake soaked in simple syrup. The best cake to make.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
3 cups semolina
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups olive oil
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 cups water
*2 – 2 1/2 cups Simple Syrup
Place the fenugreek seeds in a small saucepan. Cover with 2 cups of water and cook until tender. They are bitter, so beware when you tase for doneness. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 500 F. Mix the yeast and sugar into the warm water. Set aside to bloom.
Mix the semolina and flour together. Add the two oils and mix until evenly distributed. Strain the fenugreek and add to the semolina mixture. Set the water from the fenugreek aside, because you’ll need it later.
Add the yeast mixture and knead the dough together. You want a soft pliable dough. Add from the fenugreek water as needed to achieve a play dough texture dough. You want it to be soft enough to spread but still hold together.
Get your half sheet pan ready. Spread the dough onto the ungreased sheet pan. Evenly press the dough into the pan so you fill the entire pan and it’s an even thickness all around. Score and cut your Hilbeh into 7 long strips. Next make diagonal lines to get nice little diamond shaped pieces. Set aside the pan for 15-30 minutes to allow the Hilbeh to rise.
Once your Hilbeh rises, bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the Hilbeh is golden brown. Once it’s golden brown remove from the oven. Immediately pour the room temperature simple syrup on it. Lift the pan and tilt to evenly distribute it. Enjoy!