Jhal Suji: This Spicy Semolina Is A Popular Bengali Breakfast

Bengalis love starting their mornings on a decadent note, however, sometimes even ‘lighter’ breakfast specials tend to delight just as much. In the world of deep-fried Luchis, Radhabollobi and Koraishutir Kochuri, something as simple as Jhal Suji, maybe an anomaly, but certainly not an unwelcome entity.  

‘Jhal’ is a Bengali word for spicy or hot. Sometimes, the word is also used to distinguish the dish from its milder or sweeter counterparts. For instance, muri (or puffed rice) is a perfectly satiable snack in itself, but ‘Jhal Muri’ is the spicy cousin, you need to build an appetite for. Made with puffed rice, chopped green chillies, mustard oil and onions, Jhal Muri is one of the crown jewels of Bengali street food fare that is not meant for the faint-hearted. Similarly, Suji or Shooji in Bengali refers to semolina and semolina halwa both. Semolina halwa, is a popular dessert, often prepared for bhog, prasad and breakfast. ‘Jhal Sooji’ is a savoury preparation of semolina. Here the word ‘Jhal’ is used only to differentiate it from ‘mishti Sooji’ or sweet semolina preparation, the dish inherently is not as spicy. In fact, it is consumed in one way or other, across India. It can also be called the eastern cousin of Suji Upma. 

This light, hearty and savoury preparation comes with goodness of many vegetables like diced potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, sliced onions, green chillies and garlic. Now coming to the spices, a hot blend of red chilli powder, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, and cumin seeds make the dish oh-so-tempting while the addition of cashews, ghee and raisins make it rich. Without further ado, here’s the recipe, you have been waiting for.  


  • 10 grams diced potatoes 
  • 25 grams sliced carrot 
  • 10 grams cauliflower cubes 
  • 60 grams sliced onions 
  • 2 sliced green chilies 
  • 4 grams ginger chopped 
  • 2 grams garlic chopped 
  • As required curry leaves 
  • 200 grams semolina 
  • 20 grams cashew 
  • 20 grams raisins 
  • As required vegetable oil 
  • 1 tablespoon ghee 
  • 1 dried red chili 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2 cardamom 
  • 1 cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • Salt as required 
  • Sugar as required 
  • Water as required


  1. Dry roast the semolina in a pan on medium heat. 
  2. Heat pan with ghee, add dried red chillies, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin seeds and curry leaves. 
  3. Add vegetables and onions and fry for two minutes. 
  4. Now add turmeric powder, ginger, garlic, green chillies, semolina, and some salt according to taste.  
  5. Add sugar and hot water to the pan, keep cooking until water is absorbed.