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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> What is Halva ?

Halva is a confection made from semolina. Originally from India, the recipe spread throughout West Asia, the Balkans and the Mediterranean, while being adjusted to the local taste of each region. Such is the variation, that the only ingredients common to all recipes are semolina, sugar and possibly cardamom. Most recipes include butter, though some substitute vegetable oil. Most South Asian recipes include pistachios; most Mediterranean varieties sesame instead. Raisins, dates or other dried fruits are common, though not essential.

In addition to cardamom, halava is often flavored with nutmeg, cinnamon, saffron and/or rosewater.

The Jewish spelling, "halvah", may at times be used to refer specifically to the Jewish variety (heavily sesame-flavored—see recipe below).


Basic Indian halava
There are many kinds of halwas in India, but the most common are the carrot (gajar) halwa and the semolina (sooji or rava) halwa. Halwa is also made from atta flour. Here is the recipe for semolina halwa.
  • 7/8 cup milk
  • 7/8 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar (1 cup if you like it very sweet)
  • 1 cup semolina
  • 3/4 cup butter or ghee (US: 1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • crushed toasted pistachios (optional)

    Melt butter or ghee over medium heat, add semolina and stir-fry for about 10 minutes until nutty aroma develops. Meanwhile, bring milk, water and sugar to a boil in a separate pot, remove from heat and stir in spices. Turn off stove and pour liquid over fried semolina while stirring rapidly to contain sputtering.

    Pour into forms or let cool in pot and cut into pieces later. Serve at room temperature.

  • Option, garnish with crushed toasted pistachios.

Persian halva

  • 250 grams semolina

  • 200 g sugar

  • 200 g vegetable oil

  • 1 c boiling water

  • 1/2 cup rosewater

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron

  • crushed toasted almonds

Heat oil over medium heat, add semolina, stir-fry for about 10 minutes until nutty aroma develops and remove from heat. Dissolve sugar in boiling water, stir in rosewater and saffron and pour onto fried semolina while stirring rapidly. Garnish with crushed toasted almonds.

Greek halva

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups semolina
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • chopped almonds
  • sesame seeds

Cook semolina and almonds in oil until golden. Meanwhile, heat the water and sugar just enough to completely dissolve the sugar and add lemon and cinnamon. Pour liquid onto semolina while stirring rapidly. Continue heating mixture until it thickens, then pour into cake form. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve at room temperature.

Jewish Halvah

  • 400 g Tahini
  • oil drained from Tahini plus margarine to make 1 1/2 cups
  • 4 c semolina or wheat flour
  • 1 c honey
  • 1/2 c sesame seeds

Heat oil and margarine, stir in flour and cook over low flame while stirring constantly, until light brown. Then add tahini. Using a candy thermometer, heat honey to the soft ball stage (112 °C). Combine honey and sesame seeds with flour mixture and mix well. Pour onto greased form; cut as soon as solid enough.

Halva (modern English spelling), halava (Sanskrit transliteration), halvah (Hebrew transliteration), halawi (Arabic transliteration), halva (Bosnian transliteration), helva (Turkish transliteration) or halwa (alternate Hindi transliteration)

Sept 2005 - 2014 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods- Jewish Foods
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bagels.