THE SWEET TASTE OF OMAN
A trip to Oman is not complete without trying some of its deliciously sweet local delicacy - Omani halwa. Halwa is traditionally served with Omani Kahwa (coffee), both at homes and in restaurants across the country. It is particularly popular on special occasions such as weddings or birthday celebrations. It is also consumed during Ramadan and Eid feasts. The recipe is subject to much debate as every Omani has their own personal favourite, with ingredients and proportions varying between makers and from different locales of production. In fact, halwa-makers are fiercely protective of their secret recipes as their livelihood may depend on it.
• 20 litres of water • 10kg white sugar • 1kg brown sugar • 2kg whole wheat starch • Dash of Rose Water • 1kg Ghee (clarified butter) • 2tspns Saffron • Cardamom, almonds & nutmeg for garnish
Pout most of the water (12-15 litres) in a large copper cauldron and bring to the boil over very high heat. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Then do the same for the white sugar. Set about half the mixture aside and leave other half to simmer. Add starch to remainder of water and strain into the boiling syrup using a sieve. Keep stirring. Add the first half of syrup then do not stir for about 2 hours. Add ghee and water (if required). Lower the heat the keep stirring until halwa holds together. Add saffron and rose water and stir for about 40-minutes. When thick, remove from heat and put into plates or containers. Garnish with slivered almonds, cashew nuts or nutmeg.