Halva

In this difficult time, when governments around the world ask us to stay home to save lives and make fractionally easier the work of the medical staff that I admire, we are all looking for recipes that use few eggs , little flour, little butter etc.

Please treat this more like a piece of chocolate after dinner rather than as a cake.

I just remembered the recipe of an honorary Greek aunt who had prepared Halva for us when I was a teenager (we won’t go into more details, will we?). I loved it so much that I asked her for the recipe right away. So I share it with you because it requires no flour, no eggs, no butter. It is a vegan, vegetarian, lactose-free, egg-free, baking-free, preparation on the electric plate. Perfect also for Lent because it literally contains nothing at all.

The halva, produced and served in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Persia and neighboring countries (different versions are also found in Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and Lebanon), is generally made with wheat semolina, sugar, and vegetable oil. Grapes, dates, almonds, green cardamom flowers or others can be added.

Basic traditional ingredients

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups of fine wheat semolina
3 cups of sugar
4 cups of water

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the semolina and cook until it becomes slightly brown. Be careful not to burn it, we just want a slightly toasted taste. Add the sugar and caramelize for a couple of minutes. Finally add more water. Be careful, there will be a lot of steam and it will bubble up a lot. It’s normal. Stir the wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and slightly detaches from the pan. Put the mixture in a mold and sprinkle with almonds for example. Once cooled return it onto a dish and cut into small pieces. The cake can be kept for several days outside the fridge. No need for large chunks, all you need are small slices.

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