Saturday, January 9, 2016

Halva, some interesting information, and of course, recipes!

I must apologize. I’m a wee-bit late posting the following from Sonia Tashjian. She sent me a recipe for halva and related information to post before New Year’s Eve, but two other time-sensitive stories took priority.

Even though halva is a New Year’s Eve tradition for Sonia and many others, you’ll be happy to know it can be served any time of the year!

Please read what Sonia has to say about this tradition and halva variations.
A Halva assortment from Sonia Tashjian (All photos by Sonia, too!)

HALVA, as told by Sonia Tashjian

A delicious sweet of our New Year’s Eve festive table is HALVA. I do not know the exact explanation of the word, but I think & wish it had come from the word “halvel” meaning to melt). There are variations - the one with the sugar, is called “dry halva”; the second one with syrup or honey is called “wet halva”. I have also tried the variation prepared with thick sour cream (from Lori region) & the other one is from Kharput, with unsalted cheese. The Armenians from Nor Chugha (Iran) prepare theirs with dates, nuts & a pinch of saffron in it. Halva is a ritual sweet & we use to prepare it for all holidays (New Year, St. Sarkis, Barekendan, etc...). Halva is also prepared for weddings & funerals. There is a nice tradition, when the groom comes to the bride’s house, his mother in-law welcome him with halva, decorated with raisins & nuts.

Halva squares with almonds
Halva topped with raisins

Halva garnished with cinnamon
Sonia Tashjian’s Halva
1 cup of flour
½ cup of butter ghee (clarified butter)
½ cup of powdered sugar –or- simple syrup - or - honey
 Ground cardamom or cinnamon, if desired

Brown flour on low heat. Add ghee and stir until they meld. Remove from heat and mix in sweets. Immediately pour into serving pan, flatten and slice.
A variation of Halva
This one is the original version of halva from KHARBERT. It is prepared with flour or semolina or corn starch. In a skillet, stir the flour (or semolina or cornstarch) into the hot ghee (or clarified butter). Then add (shredded) unsalted cheese (or curd), then the sugar-water.

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