Various flavors of halva in an outdoor market
What Is Halva Made Of And What's The Best Way To Eat It?
Halva, a fudge-like sweet treat, is crafted from sugar, honey, grains, nuts, or seeds. It's prominent in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Eastern European, and South Asian cuisines.
Also known as halawa, halvah, helva, or hilwa, halva’s origins go back to the 13th century. Preparation involves mixing nut or seed paste or toasted flour with heated sugar syrup.
While typically served at room temperature, it can also be enjoyed warm or cold. Halva can be eaten solo, with bread, or as part of a dessert spread.
Recipes vary across the region. Turkish flour helva includes toasted wheat flour, butter, and pine nuts, whereas Turkish tahini-based helva can be loaded with pistachios.
Raisins, walnuts, and orange zest feature in Greek semolina halva, and the Indian version contains cardamom and cashews. Persian halva is flavored with saffron and rose.
When it comes to texture, nut-based halva tends to be crumbly, whereas flour-based recipes yield a softer texture, adding yet more variation to this delicious, diverse treat.