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Walnut and Raisin Semolina Halava

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“Halava is an easily recognizable dish to all those familiar with Indian cuisine. But there are variants of it in native cuisines throughout the world, all over Europe and the Middle East. The secret of good halava is to roast the semolina very slowly for at least 20 minutes, with enough butter so as not to scorch the grains. Steam the finished halava over very low heat with a tight-fitting lid for 5 minutes to fully plump the semolina grains; then allow it to sit covered for another 5 minutes. Fluffy, plump grained halava is best served hot, with a spoonful of cream or custard.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Combine the water, sugar, and raisins in a 2-litre/quart saucepan. Place over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Place the butter in a 2- or 3-litre/quart non-stick saucepan and over fairly low heat, stirring occasionally, melt the butter without scorching. Add the semolina. Slowly and rhythmically stir-fry the grains until they darken to a tan colour and become aromatic (about 20 minutes). Add the walnut pieces about half-way through the roasting. Stirring more carefully, raise the heat under the grains.
  3. Raise the heat under the sugar water and bring the syrup to a rolling boil. Remove the saucepan of semolina and butter from the heat, slowly pouring the hot syrup into the semolina, stirring steadily. The grains may at first splutter, but will quickly cease as the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Return the pan to the stove and stir steadily over low heat until the grains fully absorb the liquid, start to form into a pudding-like consistency, and pull away from the sides of the pan. Place a tight-fitting lid on the saucepan and cook over the lowest possible heat for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, allow the halava to steam, covered, for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot in dessert bowls as it is, or with cream or hot custard.

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