Halva – n. happy food

Halva, halvah is a confection or sweetmeat originating in the Balkans and eastern Mediterranean regions. It is made from ground sesame seeds, honey or sugar syrup, with other ingredients such as dried fruit, pistachio nuts, farina (semolina), and almonds sometimes added. Cinnamon and cardamom are also frequently added. The ingredients are blended together, and then heated and poured into bars or long loaves.  The name means literally ‘sweetmeat’ and various forms of the word may be found in Turkish, Greek, Yiddish, Arabic, etc. (Helva, halva, halvah, halwa, halawi, etc.) (source: http://www.foodreference.com/html/fhalvahalvah.html)

Thanks Jon for remembering to bring some to class! And I’m posting the recipe for you (wink-wink!).

425ml pint whole milk
3 T rosewater
1 vanilla pod, split/ 1T vanilla essance
1 t ground cardamom seeds
4 T caster sugar
125g coarse semolina
50g sultanas
1-3 T butter

optional 1t of the following-chocolate slivers, pecan nuts, dried apricots, dates (nearly anything that you enjoy)

  1. Heat the milk, rosewater, vanilla pod, ground cardomom seeds and caster sugar in a pan over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the semolina and sultanas and cook, whisking continuously, for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla pod (if using).
  3. Spoon the mixture into a deep baking tray. Set aside and allow to cool. once cooled place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, or until set will make it easier to slice).
  4. Cut the halva into squares.
  5. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. once hot and sizzeling add the halva squares and fry for 2-3 minutes, turning once, or until golden-brown on both sides.

(source of recipe and photo: http://www.wickedfood.co.za/blog/halva.html)


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