Everyone always has room for desserts, no matter how full we are after our meal. This includes me, because, who doesn’t love sweets?
There is a type of dessert in Eastern Europe loved by everyone from all walks of lives. Halva is a famous candy or dessert in the Middle East. Halva can be made in two ways, one is made of flour, one is made of nuts, depending on the preference.
Often, Halva is made of sesame seeds mixed with either flour and nuts, creating a fragrant, nutty flavour in this candy. Overall, Halva is basically a mixture of sesame seeds paste and hot sugar syrup to create this wonderful candy dessert.
Typically, the sweetener used in Middle Eastern countries is honey. Honey has always been their staple ingredient for enhancing flavours.
The Origin Of Halva
The term Halva was derived from the Arabic word ‘Halwa’, which basically means sweet confection. Halva originated somewhere near Byzantium, which is now known as Istanbul.
The dessert was conceptualised before the 12th century. In the old days, Halva was believed to be gelatinous, and people used to prepare this candy with oil, flour and sugar.
As this sweet cake originated from the Middle East, it soon spread across the Middle East, Central Asia and the other subcontinents. The countries include Azerbaijan, Greece, India, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Egypt and more. Now, it can be seen in the United States as well, where some Indian, Arab, Persian and Jewish communities have migrated to many years ago.
Halva is usually eaten during special occasions. This includes their local New Year, funerals, weddings, birthdays, Hanukkah and other significant events.
Different Types Of Halva
As mentioned above, Halva comes in two forms – flour-based and nut-based. Let’s start with the flour-based one first.
The most common ingredient for flour-based Halva is semolina. Most people will use wheat semolina to create Halva by mixing it with sugar or honey, and butter or vegetable oil. Other ingredients used to make Halva include cornstarch and rice flour.
Nut-based Halva is mostly made of sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Sesame Halva is very popular in Poland and other countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Usually, people will prepare this sweet candy by mixing sesame seeds or butter with sugar or honey.
There is another unique type of Halva, which is called floss Halva. This is commonly found in Turkey as this is a Turkish traditional sweet. This type of sweet pastry is made by flossing the thin strands of Halva, and usually, this is sold in tourist areas as souvenirs.
Where To Find Halva?
Halva is not commonly seen in Malaysia. Usually, this is found in local Middle Eastern souvenir shops.
However, Halva is a simple dish to prepare. All you have to do is prepare the necessary ingredients, such as honey or sugar, vanilla extract, flour, sesame seeds and almonds or pistachios, or any ingredients that you may prefer, mix them all together and cool it.
It is effortless to make, and you can do it anytime you want. Halva can be eaten at any time of the day, including breakfast and tea time.
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