Make Sumayya Usmani's malpura semolina pancakes

These crispy-but-spongy semolina pancakes are so good you'll be eating them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between

Semolina pancakes by Sumayya Usmani. Photography by Joanna Yee

Makes 6-8

Preparation time 20 mins

Cooking time 15 mins

"Pakistani malpura pancakes are a festive fried pancake, topped with honey, fruit or syrup," says Sumayya Usmani of this delicious, easy recipe in her new book Mountain Berries & Desert Spice, which celebrates sweet dishes in Pakistani cuisine. "They're shallow-fried in oil until they have crispy edges, but still retain a spongy centre. Here, I have accompanied them with a delicious raspberry and pomegranate sauce." Beats boring old muesli, eh?


  • 150g fine semolina
  • 125g all-purpose flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 3–4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 300–425ml buttermilk
  • A pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil, for frying

To decorate

  • 1 tbsp desiccated (dry, unsweetened) coconut
  • 1 tbsp pistachios, chopped
  • 1 tbsp walnuts, chopped
  • Raspberry and pomegranate sauce

For the raspberry and pomegranate sauce

  • 1 pomegranate, seeds only
  • 150g raspberries
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar


  1. To make the sauce, cook the pomegranate seeds, raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat for 5-7 minutes until soft. Once combined, mash the mixture with the back of a spoon, then push it through a sieve to extract all the seeds, adding a little water if it's too thick.
  2. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of semolina, then put the remaining semolina, the flour, sugar and spices in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the buttermilk and stir until it forms a batter. Cover with a tea towel and set aside overnight at room temperature.
  3. The next day, stir the reserved semolina and bicarbonate of soda into the batter until combined.
  4. Heat the ghee or oil in a frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of the batter into the pan and swirl to form a 2.5cm round pancake. You can make 2–3 pancakes at a time.
  5. Shallow-fry the pancakes for 2–3 minutes until the edges are crisp and brown but the centre remains soft. Flip over and cook the other side for another 2–3 minutes.
  6. Remove and drain on kitchen paper, then keep in a warm pouch while the rest are cooked.
  7. Serve the pancakes hot, decorated with coconut and nuts, with the sauce on the side.

Taken from Mountain Berries & Desert Spice: Sweet Inspiration from the Hunza Valley to the Arabian Sea, by Sumayya Usmani (Frances Lincoln, £20.00). Photography by Joanna Yee