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.
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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