Halva

Ola dear readers and a happy Sunday funday to you all!I just love this time of year don’t you? the weather is starting to get warmer and the streets are filled with pops of purple from the Jacaranda trees…. It’s such a treat.

Speaking of treats, I have a very sweet one for you indeed. I decided to attempt making Halva for the first time ever! Usually I leave it to the professionals aka matriarchs of my family but today I just felt like it was time I gave it a go for myself. So I did and I got a killer recipe for you but first I want to talk a bit about Halva.

In short Halva is a type of sweet consisting of either a flour or a nut base, It’s very common across the middle east and India. There are numerous versions around across different countries.The root of the word Halva comes from Arabic, which means sweet. They are not wrong either as it is sweet, very sweet!

You can make Halva with flour, semolina, tahini as the base and add ingredients to it like honey, ginger, nuts, carrot…the list is endless.

I’m not sure about other countries but in Iran traditional Halva has a religious and spiritual significance. It is eaten during the month of Ramadan as the sweetness gives you energy during the day which helps you endure the fast. It’s served in various religious ceremonies and during wakes where it’s consumed in conjunction with a prayer in honour of the deceased. It is also used as a pledge or vow to god on behalf of someone this is called a  “Nazr” and it’s basically performed to make a wish for someone. There are other forms for Halva that as stated before made with honey or sesame, these types can often be served in other festivities like Norouz. We even sold different types of Halva stacks at our market stall back in Hobart a few years ago!

So now that you have a bit of understanding about the significance of Halva lets get to the fun part. It’s actually quite a basic recipe with minimal ingredients needed. What I’m a bout to share with you is the traditional Halva recipe so feel free to use this as a base and add ingredients to it. Beware that Halva is quite sweet and it tends to get more sweet as it cools so my favourite thing to do when making Halva is eat it hot out of the pan. This may sound weird but it’s soooo good and not as sweet. It’s actually my preferred way of eating Halva 🙂

Halva recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of Persian rose water
  • 1/2 cup of caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp steeped Saffron
  • 100-150g of butter
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • pistachios

Note: If you are gluten free you can possibly try substituting the flour with the GF option 

Method:

  • Firstly, you need to make a syrup. In a small pot combine the rose water and sugar and heat until the sugar dissolves. Try not to mix the syrup or let it boil for too long as this will affect the texture of the Halva. Once the sugar is dissolved add the steeped Saffron and gently mix so that the colour of the syrup is orange, turn the heat off and set the syrup to one side
  • Next you need to cook out the raw flour. In a wok or frying pan, add the flour and mix it around the pan until the smell of the flour rises and the flour has slightly changed colour
  • Once this occurs then take the pan off the heat and sift the flour. Return the sifted flour back into the pan add the crushed cardamom and keep stirring and mixing the flour until it has turned into a beige colour
  • Then start adding the slivers of butter slowly into the pan, one piece at a time. Let the butter melt in the pan and then incorporate it into the flour. You can also add a bit of oil each time you add the butter so that the butter doesn’t burn. With the back of your spatula push down on the flour to allow the oil and butter to soak inside  and spread.
  • Once all the butter and oil has been incorporated into the flour then slowly add the syrup into the pan and quickly incorporate it into the flour mixture. This is the crucial part so I recommend taking the pan off the heat, placing it onto a bench top and adding the syrup slowly with one hand and kneading the Halva mixture with the other. Once all the syrup is incorporated and the Halva is well kneaded and has a play-doh consistency it can be served. Spread it thinly on a plate and garnish with Pistachios or Almonds (traditional style) or eat it directly out of the pan…my style!

Hot tip: Use Persian rose water as it’s mild, if you use Indian or Arabic rose water make sure you dilute it as it’s too strong. If you don’t like rose water then simply substitute with water.

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The end result; traditional serving on the top left

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and a more contemporary style…the Halva stack 🙂

 

I’ll like to leave you with some footage of me eating some hot Halva!! #nojudgement

Till next time Xx