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Types of halva in Istanbul, Turkey
Different kinds of halva in Kerala, India
types of halva in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
types of halva in Jerusalem, Israel

Halva (also known as halvah, halwa) is a type of confectionery widely spread throughout Turkey, Middle East as well as South Asia. The name is used for a broad variety of recipes, generally a thick paste made from flour, butter, liquid oil, saffron, rosewater, milk, cocoa powder, and sweetened with sugar.[1][2][3]

Halva has a number of geographical sources: from Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iran, India, Uzbekistan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine. It is considered a national dish in Turkey. There are many types of halva. In Israel, crude sesame base is popular. In Russia, halva made out of Sunflower seeds is popular.

Types and preparation[change | change source]

  • Sesame or Peanut - Made from raw tahini, mixed with sugar syrup and sometimes honey. The ingredients are mixed to form a solid, fatty lump, that easily melts in heat, break apart easily, and become easier to make. This is the most popular type of halva in Israel. It usually shows the marble lines made by mixing fat and sugar. In Bukhara, a Bukharan peanut halva called "Labaz" is made.
  • Semolina - It is the most common type in Eastern countries, such as Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and India. It is based on wheat bran starches. The fat is added from another source: usually soybean oil, while the sweetness comes from syrup or honey. Indian semolina halva is called suji halva, a wheat flour halva called ata kahalva. In Iraq, halva is made from wheat flour and semolina. It is served with Iraqi pita before meal.
  • Sunflower seeds - Its main source of fat is sunflower seeds. It is common in countries around Russia. They got their recipe from neighboring Turkey. The recipe is almost identical to sesame one.
  • Goat cheese - It is common to make a halva from goat cheese in Lebanon and Greece.
  • Cornflour - In Saudi Arabia, halva is made from cornflour, butter, sugar, cardamom and saffron.
  • Flour - In Bulgaria, Iraq and Iran, halva flour is also used as a substitute for semolina.
  • Rice - In the area of the city of Shiraz in Iran, it is commonly prepared using cooked rice.

Other uses[change | change source]

  • Halva spread - It has almost liquid texture and high viscosity. Relatively light in dietary fiber.
  • Curly halva (also called: "halva hairs") is used to decorate traditional desserts in oriental cuisine.

References[change | change source]

  1. Sharar, Abdul Halim; Sharar, ʻAbdulḥalīm (1994-05-12). Lucknow: The Last Phase of an Oriental Culture. OUP India. ISBN 978-0-19-563375-7.
  2. Davidson, Alan (2014-08-21). The Oxford Companion to Food. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-104072-6.
  3. Clark, Melissa (2004-03-24). "For Halvah, Use 1/2 Cup Nostalgia". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-15.