Halva-aardiPosted: 26 November 2011
Halva-aardi , a choclate brown, sweet confection made of white flour, is typically served with dates and tea at most funeral services–passed on a plate with a fork or spoon placed at the side for people to help themselves. It is also served as a dessert—especially after ghalyeh or other types of seafood, and ideally with tea. Halva is very easy to make in theory but could be tricky in practice. My mother used to make flawless halva each and every time she did it: chocolate brown, noticeably sweet and anghosht-pich (finger-rolled) so that it was just solid enough to roll around a finger without dripping. Ok let’s get to its theory here – right after the Persian text.
Ingredients (for a small plate like the one shown in the picture, enough for 7-8 people): White (all-purpose) flour, 1 cup. Sugar, ¾ cup. Water (or a combination of water and rose water) ½ cup. Cooking oil ¾ cup. Contrary to a wide spread assumption, NO saffron is needed!
Method: In a small bowl, pour water and sugar, dissolve well and put aside. Pour oil and flour into a-frying pan and stir over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until it turns to a very light brown paste and emits the unique smell of frying flour. Add water/sugar mix, and turn the heat off. But do keep the pan over the burner and continue stirring. The mixture gets darker and thicker rapidly.
NOTE: The thickness, texture and particularly the color of halva indicate its taste and quality. A very dark brown could signal burned flour, while a very light brown is considered raw and aesthetically unpleasant. In a few minutes after adding the water-sugar mix to the fried flour, you should have a homogeneous, chocolate brown paste a bit thicker than honey. This is halva aardi! Transfer to a nice plate while it is still hot, use paper towel to remove excess oil, and garnish with of sliced pistachios and almond if you like. Halva continues to thicken until it is cold enough to eat.