Dates Halva (Halva Khormaayi)

If you liked my two very region specific desserts for “Halva aardi” and “Ranginac“, I am sure you will LOVE ‘dates halva’! Making this one is a bit more difficult than the other two, but it is indeed in the same category and quite similar in principle and taste.  Here we go then.

Ingredients (for a medium dish shown in the picture below, dividable into 35 bite size: Dates. 1 kg. You would need specific type of dates: any brand with dark brown color, tender skin and firm yet juicy meat on them (not too oozy, but rich in sap). Once you get that part right, half the task is accomplished. Walnuts, 300 gr, chopped. White flour (all-purpose) 1 cup.  Oil, ¾ cup. For dressing: Powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. Cinnamon, 1 tbsp.  You would also need a good amount of patience to slowly fry the flour, as well as the strength to knead the dates.
Take the dates’ seeds out and in a big plastic bowl knead them well.

Pour half a cup of flour in a non-stick frying pan and stir over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until it turns yellowish and you can smell “fried” flour.  Measure half a cup of oil and slowly add to the frying pan. You probably need less than half a cup of oil to get to the desired thickness – which would be yogurt-thick . As soon as you add the oil, flour’s color turns much darker which means you’re on the right track!



Add your flour/oil mix to the dates’ bowl and continue kneading with a masher. The kneading, you will notice, gets much easier now and the dough’s color becomes darker still as the oil/flour mix gets colder. It should eventually become a brownish mixture.

Divide your date dough into two equal portions. Flatten one portion of the dough, not thicker than half a cm, in a flat serving dish in the middle, so that a one-inch frame would be left around the dish. Leaving a frame is due to the fact that we have some pressing and squeezing ahead and want to make sure we have enough room to do that. Call this, layer No. 1.

Next, spread half the amount of chopped walnuts on the first layer and using your hand, press them hard into the first layer (you have layer 2 now).  Spread the rest of the chopped walnuts, but do not press yet (layer 3). Now, you need to spread the second portion of the date dough completely over the third layer. However, unlike flattening the first layer in one shot, you have to flatten this layer in two or three portions and mend the seams and gaps later. Using your palm again, press the fourth layer down as firm as you can, so as to make a perfectly pressed walnut sandwich!  Flatten the surface, and get ready for the last step!

Repeat the flour-frying step, exactly as you did the first time. Once you got the yogurt-thick paste, pour it over your date/walnut sandwich while it is still very hot (It must be hot when we use it as the fifth layer; that’s why we made the paste in two separate phases).

Here you go; almost done! While the surface is still hot, spread one thin layer of powdered sugar, followed by lines or dots of cinnamon. Let cool before cutting it in bite size pieces.

Date-halva, or Hava khormaayi is considered a fancy, almost delicacy, dessert served in sad and happy occasions alike. It tastes wonderful with tea, coffee, or on its own!

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