Syria – Pistachio Tahini Halvah


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by Adelina Aida

Halva is a dessert that can be cooked by adding different main ingredients like nuts, fruits, semolina, flour, grains, etc. This dish is very popular in WEST ASIA. This is also be cooked by their traditional ingredients of a specific region. Different names with different ingredients but the cooking method and final look of the dish are the same. This can be similar to the custard but it has small granules in it. Like if you are making almond halwa, a fine paste of almonds is cooked with ghee or butter until roasted completely and then sugar and milk are added to form a thick texture and ready to eat by adding different essence like rose essence, and some nuts toppings. In Syria, halwa is cooked usually grains based. Wheat flour, semolina, rice flour, chickpea flour, is used in making halwa. When grains flour are mixed with nuts powder or nuts paste they are even more tasty and delicious. Like in gram flour, almond paste is added and cooked for super amazing taste.

In this halvah, three elements are going to assemble. First is tahini, pistachio, and the final look is in halvah form. Halvah is said to be the confectionary food item. It is basically a dessert or sweet dish for confections. The confectionery food item must be full of sweetness and carbohydrates. The most common halvah cooked in Syria is from semolina. And also from grains flours. It is easy to cook and tastes delicious. The basic simple halwa is cooked by simple 4 ingredients: ghee, milk, sugar, and main element like flour, semolina, etc. But it took a lot of time to roast the main element in ghee or butter at low flame to make it brown in color or have a nice roasted earthy aroma. Then the milk is added to fluff it up and sugar to have sweetness according to the taste. This is the basic dish, now you can any complimentary items like nuts, fruits, silver paper, jam, etc.

Halvah can be cooked in different forms like it can be liquid, semi-solid, and solid that are cut into different shapes. When halvah is cooked in solid form, it is cut into different shapes like diamond, triangle, square, etc. When it is cooked in semi-solid form, this is served in bowls and eaten with a spoon.

ALTERNATIVE NAMES FOR HALVAH

  • Halva
  • Halvah
  • Halwa
  • Halwah

There are some form of halva and it name depends on the ingredients used in it :

  • Almond halvah
  • Pistachio halvah
  • Tahini halvah
  • Sesame halvah
  • Floss halvah

Halvah names in different regions :

  • Pakhlava in Azerbaijan
  • Sooji halva in India
  • Petha in India
  • Iranian Halvah
  • Baklawa in Turkey
  • Halva in Greece

HALVAH INCLUDED IN OTHER CUISINES

  • Turkish cuisine
  • Indian Cuisine
  • Iranian cuisine
  • Greece Cuisine
  • Azerbaijan Cuisine
  • Palestinian cuisine
  • Israeli cuisine
  • Egyptian cuisine
  • Asian cuisine, etc.

SYRIAN CUISINE

Syrian cuisine includes the tradition of Modern cuisine and Greater Syrian traditions. The history of Syrian cuisine depends on the people of different cultures settled in Syria. Arabs had a great impact on Syrian cuisine because, in the 21st century, the Syrian used to have Arabic bread, Coffee after lunch, and also Confectionery items were introduced. There are also some recipes of the 13th century from the old traditions of Syria.

The food of Syrian cuisine has divided into different categories like :

  • Meze
  • Sarma
  • Kebab
  • Kubbah
  • Mahshi
  • Street food
  • Sweets

Halvah is originated from the Syrian cuisine but it has also many other desserts list given below :

  • Kanafeh
  • Barazek
  • Halweh
  • Ma’mul
  • Qada’ef
  • Raha
  • Znud, etc.

ETYMOLOGY OF HALVAH

Halwa is the name of the dish that is a word included in different languages. Like this specific word, halvah is included in the Turkish language, Arabic language, English language, etc. Every language has its own meaning and own pronunciation.

In English, Halwah is entered from 1840 to 1850 from the Roman Language.

In the Arabic language, Halwa means SWEET CONFECTION. H, L, W in the Arabic language refers to something SWEET.

HISTORY OF HALVAH

Halvah is a dish that originated from Persian cuisine. Halva is a very old and traditional dish. It is a dish from the 7th century. People of that time used to mix date paste into milk and consume it as a dish: halva. It went through an evolution and when desserts were cooked, semolina or flour, cooked in milk with sugar is used to be called halva.

There is a book of the 13th century, Kitab al-Tabikh (The Book of Dishes), halva is a dish included in the book. It is the ancient recipe of making halva included in that book.

Then this dish was adopted in turkey at the time of the Ottoman Empire.

TYPES OF HALVAH

PATHEIN HALVAH

This dish is basically from the Burmese Cuisine. In the Burmese language, MONT is food that used to be served as a Snack and dessert if sweet. This dish is included in the MONT Category of Burmese cuisine. Mont is translated as SNACK.

It is actually a pudding cooked by adding flour of glutinous rice flour, butter, milk, and coconut. This dish is served in two forms :

  • Wet Pathein halva
  • Dry pathein halva

Wet halva is cooked that is towards the semi-solid consistency, it is served in the bowl. It has an addition of more milk than dry halvah. The milk quantity is high so that the consistency of this wet halva is semi-solid. In meanwhile, the dry halvah has no or less addition of milk.

SOOJI K HALVA

Sooji is wheat semolina flour, that is cooked in this dish as the main element of the dish. This dish is very common in India, Pakistan. This is influenced by the MUGHALS. This dish has also many other different names like :

  • Firni
  • Farinia
  • Rawa
  • Kheer, etc.

This is the basic dish that can be cooked by adding other combinations like nuts: almonds, walnuts, fruits, different essence are added for good aroma and nice flavor. If this basic dish is cooked with the addition of different essence it totally tastes different.

PISMANIYE

Pismaniye is a Turkish dish, in which flour is roasted in the butter, and then this dough mixture is pulled into the sugar powder. Different types of nuts like almonds, walnuts, Peanuts, Pistachio, etc are also added. They use to add rose petals and rose essence for the rose flavor. It is compared to cotton candy because of the texture and looks of the final product.

Alternative names of the pismaniye :

  • Cekme Halva
  • Tel Helva
  • Tel tel
  • Tempe
  • Keten helva

SUNFLOWER HALVAH

This is a very delicious halvah cooked by seeds of a sunflower. Sunflower seeds are commonly used seeds as nuts, grains, etc. Sunflower halvah is popular in the former soviet union. It is also cooked in different regions like Romania, Serbia, and many Balkan countries. It is more like the sesame halvah but instead of sesame, sunflower seeds are used. They are covert into a fine powder, then roasted in butter to proceed with the further steps.

Sunflower Halvah is used in many regions like :

  • Romania
  • Syria
  • Serbia
  • Soviet, etc

COMPLEMENTARY FOOD ITEMS ADDED TO THIS DISH

DRY FRUITS (NUTS)

There are a huge list of dry fruits we can add to this dish

  • Pistachio
  • Coconut strips
  • Peanuts
  • Apricots
  • Almonds
  • Cashew
  • Pinenuts
  • Prunes
  • Dry dates
  • Raisins

FRESH FRUITS

  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Fresh banana slices
  • Apples
  • Apricot
  • Grapes
  • Orange zests, etc.

AROMATIC INGREDIENTS

To give yellow color we can add natural ingredients and also used artificial ones :

  • Turmeric powder
  • Saffrons strips
  • Cardamon powder
  • Star anise
  • Coco powder, etc.

GARNISHING

Garnish this dish with :

  • Silver paper
  • Fresh fruits
  • Nuts
  • Coagulated milk solids, etc.

SERVED WITH

  • Boiled Eggs
  • Warm milk
  • Tea and coffee.

INGREDIENTS OF PISTACHIO AND TAHINI HALVA

  1. Ghee = 250 gram
  2. Powder milk = 1 cup
  3. Sugar = 1 cup
  4. Milk = 2 cups
  5. Rose water = 2 tbsp
  6. pistachio powder = 1 cup
  7. Tahini paste = 2 cups
  8. Coconut powder = 4 tbsp
  9. Plain rice flour = 4 tbsp

COOKING METHOD

  1. Take a cooking pot and add ghee in it and let it melt on low heat.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add rice flour, pistachio powder, coconut powder and mix it well.
  3. Add these mixed powder into the ghee and cook for 15 minutes on medium low flame.
  4. This will makes the flour to cook and roast it very well.
  5. Now when these are roasted properly, add milk, milk powder, sugar and tahini paste into the roasted powder.
  6. On this step, flame is increased to medium high and continously mixing is necessary.
  7. When mositure is almost evaporates, at the end add rose water and serve.
  8. In the serving bowl, garnish it with nuts and silver paper.
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