I always associated Persia with a mystical aura surrounding the country. I had read so much about the land in the many fiction I use to consume. It always fascinated and held me captive, talking about the land and the food and so many things. So when it was to choose P, I had to do Persia. Persia or Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1980, is a country in Western Asia.
I landed in this recipe and spent many a days simply looking at the pictures and spend quite sometime checking out other recipes. Infact I made something else from this space as well. For all the time I spent, I didn't get around reading this post, maybe somehow to do with the loss and the sadness that sort of clouded this post. The writer spins quite a tale and though I enjoyed reading her other posts, I couldn't get myself read this. Then I thought so what if Halwa is associated with funerals. Even then it's a wonderful recollection of the writer's experience.
In India Halwas are made on happy occasions. And given my penchant for Halwas, I had to make this.I have previously made Maida Halwa, quite in a different way. Seeing how it is made, I knew this must be relatively very simple to get done. Just as I said, it was so simple. I made this on the Saturday and the moment I went in, Konda was following me, wanting to know which country I was going to make. I told her that I can't avoid to deviate from the order and it has to be P for the day.
The morning I was making, I was baking a cake as well. So you can imagine the other company I had. The boys wouldn't budge from the space and I literally had to send them off. Just as I thought getting this Halwa done was a breeze. Only just as I was mixing it, I realized that I had missed out adding butter altogether. Off late I find myself going bonkers when I make too many dishes at the same time, clicking each picture and having the kids in the small kitchen.
Konda was going gaga over this, while boys were only peeping into the oven. Finally I managed to fix the missing butter and the halwa turned out so delicious. Even with all the fixing I had to do, this took just about 15 - 20 mins all together. This is one quick dessert fix I must say. It was so delicious that Konda skipped her breakfast for this, while all the time threatening her brothers to try this. Peddu ventured and he got hooked. He didn't know if he had to eat more cake or this in the end.
If you ever want to make a quick sweet, you must make this. The original recipe calls for 3 cups flour, though I made with just a cup of flour.
Country - P for Persia
Category - Dessert, Sweets,
Cooking time - 15 - 20 mins
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Unsalted Butter - 2 tbsp or more
Sugar - 3/4 cups
Rose water - 2 tbsp
a pinch saffron, ground
Water just enough to cover the sugar
Slivered almonds and pistachios for garnish
How to make the Persian Halvah
For the Syrup
In a Sauce pan, place the sugar and water, bring to boil. Strain if any impurities, then continue boiling for couple of more minutes, till you get a thick syrup but not a thread.
Remove from heat and add rose water and ground saffron. Set aside to cool down
To make the halwa
Melt butter in a non-stick pan, add flour.
Let the flour brown on low heat making sure that you constantly stir so that it won’t burn. This takes the major part as you will have to keep stirring constantly.
Since I was making the syrup on the side, I had to be really careful to make sure the flour doesn't get burnt.
After about 7 - 10 mins the flour turns colour, becomes a nice brown shade.
Once the flour is ready pour the syrup over it.
Remove from heat and combine the syrup and flour together. If it is too dry add 1/4 of cup of water to it. I add more ghee to it.
Transfer to a greased plate and decorate with nuts.
I forgot about adding butter at the initial stage. You can easily add melted ghee. Mine was more loose and couldn't form design as I saw in the original recipe.
The halwa is so soft and smooth. The nuts give a good bite in between.
Next on the list is Oman for O and there was no choice for anybody in the group. Unless somebody came up with an alternate name for the country. Now that I think, I am hoping there was something like that. Anyway coming to my own choice, this was again into Arabian cuisines, very much like the other Arab countries.
I am not sure why however I landed with no choice at all. All I could see were recipes for desserts/sweets and the main course were only with non veg. I was hoping that the dessert I made will be liked by rest. It was Oman Halawet Ahmad or Omani noodle dessert. I even saw couple of videos showing how this is done.
The noodles used is very thin one and infact says cook as per instructions. I couldn't get thin rice noodles or with vermicelli. The vermicelli I had were quite thin and I decided I should simply go ahead with it. So after seeing the videos and spending quite sometime on a recipe which turned out to be so simple, I decided not to cook it very soft.
The pictures on net were so captivating and I was hoping to replicate something of that sort. I roasted the vermicelli quite well and didn't cook it very soft, making sure it was crispy. Then when condensed milk was added, it sort of became stiff and crunchy. After making it, to mold it, one needs to put it in muffin tray. My colleagues were very much taken in by the taste and the look and wanted to make it. I clarified that the muffin tray for just for moulding and no baking actually happens.
Konda actually loves the vermicelli payasam that Amma makes. Amma has the tradition of making Semiya Payasam for Saturday Neivedyam. so a bowl of it ends up on our table as well. Sometime back we have strictly requested her not to send it across as we wanted to keep off sweets. Konda wanted to know why I never learnt making payasam. I actually didn't know what to say. I just say, when Ammamma makes it every week, where is the chance for me to make and on top nobody eats it at home.
So while I was making this dessert, this was we were remembering and chucking that it took this BM for me to make a version of payasam at home. Well if not the exactly payasam, some sweet with vermicelli. Konda simply loved it and even took the close up pictures, saying the close up pictures look great. I normally take the final pictures in either DSLR or even the one P&S I use for sbs, however looking at how Konda was eyeing this dessert, I thought I should let her click some.
Did I tell you of all the ingredients, Chinnu seem to have taken a fancy to the Vermicelli and wants the savory version of it for his lunch box, atleast once a week? Well it is sans any onions, curry leaves, it can have those tiny black dots but nothing beyond that. So when I make the savory semiya upma, I have to parse all the stuff, thankfully leaving the mustard back.
When I showed them what I was making, they politely refused saying, they will stick to the semiya they know.
Anyway whoever ate this, surely enjoyed it
Halawet Ahmad | Omani Noodle Dessert
Country - O for Oman
Category - Dessert, Sweets
Preparation Time - 5 mins
Cooking time - 15 - 20 mins
Vermicelli, thin - 1 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
condensed milk - - 1 /2 cup
Coconut, dried - 2 tsp
Butter - 2 tbsp
Almond powder - 2 tbsp
Chopped almonds for garnishing
How to make the Halawet Ahmad
Heat a non stick pan with 1 tbsp butter, saute the vermicelli for few mins, till they start turning colour. Sprinkle in water and make sure the vermicelli is well coated. Cover for 5 mins, make sure you keep stirring to ensure it doesn't get burnt.
When you feel the vermicelli is cooked but still holds its shape, add the remaining butter, stir, next add the almond powder, coconut. Combine everything well.
Next add the sweetened condensed milk. Stir well. Adjust sweet if required. As you keep cooking for next 5 - 7 mins, the pasta starts to get lumped. This is when you remove.
Have a greased min muffin tray ready, place spoonful of this cooked sweet and stuff into each muffin dent. Press hard so that it gets its domed shape.
Serve with chopped almonds on top.
The recipes I checked for this, shows very thin vermicelli, the one I used was quite thin. Make sure you don't cook it much as you would do for Payasam.
This actually tastes great when hot. I stored in fridge and warmed before serving it again.