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Samali – A Greek Traditional Semolina Cake in Syrup

Samali is a favorite syrupy Greek semolina cake with mastic. This dessert falls under the syropiasta ones. By syropiasta,  we mean all the desserts that are bathed in syrup!  To make this Greek traditional semolina cake in syrup you need the following ingredients:  coarse semolina, yogurt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, almonds and of course mastic. Have you ever heard of mastic? Mastic, from the Greek word μαστίχα, is a resin obtained from the mastic tree.  In our country, it is also known as the “tears of Chios,” as mastic is being traditionally produced on that beautiful Greek island, and is produced in “tears” or droplets like all the other natural resins.

The big secret to make a delicious samali is time! My grandmother used to say the “samali needs time”. Time to  rest, bake, stay in the oven and to serve.

This samali recipe takes around 20 minutes to prepare and around 45 minutes to bake. It has, however, two hours waiting time. If you fully want to enjoy the flavors of the dessert, I suggest you serve the dessert the next day.


Samali – Ingredients

  • 450 g of coarse semolina
  • 375 g of Greek yogurt
  • 1 sweet spoon of baking powder
  • 1 sweet spoon of baking soda
  • 300 g of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground mastic resin
  • 4 sweet spoons of butter, melted
  • Almonds

Samali Syrup – Ingredients

  • 500 g of sugar
  • 375 ml of water
  • The zest of a lemon
  • 3 sweat spoons of lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Samali – Instructions

  1. Start this traditional Greek syrup cake recipe by taking a bowl and add the yogurt and the baking soda. Stir well until ingredients are unified and put aside.
  2. Take another bowl and add the semolina, sugar, mastic, baking powder and stir with a spoon.
  3. Add the yogurt mixture into the semolina and stir with a wire whisk until all ingredients are smoothly unified.
  4. Take a baking pan with 30-35 diameter and covering its surface with butter.
  5. Place the mixture on the baking tray and with the help of a spatula make its surface even. Cover the baking pan and set it aside for 3 hours in order the semolina absorbs all liquids.
  6. Cut samali into pieces and garnish each piece with an almond.
  7. Preheat oven at 180°C and bake for about 1 hour until its surface gets a nice golden-brown color.
  8. For the syrup take a pot and add the syrup ingredients. Boil for 4-5 minutes.
  9. When you take samali out of the oven, pour the hot syrup over it with a tablespoon.
  10. Place again samali in the oven half open until the dessert cools.
  11. Serve after 24 hours.

If you like samali, you need to try this revani recipe which is another popular Greek syrup cake. Stay tuned for more Greek dessert recipes. Enjoy!

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