Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Somali Sweet (Halwad/Halwo/Halwa)

Special thanks to my 10 year old niece for running the camera by herself for me while I made the Halwo
I finally made a video of Halwo. It seems like a hard dish to make but I hope my video will help to make it easier. It is all about the heat setting and the temp of the stove. Of course, there are many different recipes for Halwo but here is mine.

Cook time: about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2hours plus 3 hours to cool
Makes about 15 to 20 thick pieces

1 Cup of Corn Starch
1 teaspoon of orange food color powder
4 cups of Water
3 Cups of Sugar
1 Cup of Light Brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of Cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon of Nutmeg
1/2 Cup of oil
1/2 Cup of Butter or Ghee
1/4 Cup of Peanuts (optional)

In a bowl mix 1 cup of water with the corn starch and food coloring. mix well until smooth. In a pan on medium high (7 on the stove) add the remaining water, white sugar and brown sugar. Stir well until sugar is fully dissolved. Once small bubbles have started to form (not a full boil) add the corn starch mixture.

Stir constantly until it just starts to thicken then add the oil. Stir well. Reduce heat to low (about a 3 on the stove). Stir every 15 minutes adding 2 tablespoons of butter/ghee. It will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes or so for the Halwo to become very thick and a lot of tiny bubble form. At this time add the cardamom powder, nutmeg and nuts (if using). Stir well and pour the Halwo into a dish/cake pan. I use a very small cake pan that is 6" X 9". The Halwo will fill the pan to the top. Let cool on the shelf. Once fully cooled, turn pan upside down and the Halwo will slide out. Cut and Serve.

The hardest part is not to stir the Halwo too often. I put it on low so that I don't have to stir it as much. Also, if you think the Halwo is too oily when you pour it in a pan, take a paper towel and dab it to soak off the oil.


  1. Assalamu Alaikum sis

    I must tell you that this is the best I have seen.

    PS- I am from your facebook/


  2. Thank you sister for the compliment.

  3. I have found your website from Tammy's blog. Your videos are very helpful!I will be checking back often!

  4. Yes very helpful. I am making this tonight.

  5. Just posting a comment here to anyone who sees this recipe. I tried it out yesterday and it worked out good. Look fwd to trying out more recipes! :)

  6. Mashaallah sister.thank you for sharing your expertise in halwo:)it looks soo yummmyyy,i 'll try makin it for my family inshallah
    thank you,

  7. thank you sister, finly halwo recipe. I've been lookin for it for a while. I will make any time i crave sweets, and holidys.

  8. thank you for sharing your expertise in halwa. I tried today and the mixture was burning in the lowest part of the pan. then i lowered the stove to 2 and it was burning again. then i set the stove on a 1 and Stired every 5 minutes any way it took about 40 minutes to form puplis and looked ready then i add the remaining of the ingrediant and put in to a dish waiting for the result i mean if it test good or not then i will let every body to know the result

  9. Insha Allah your Halwa turned out nice.

  10. asalamucalayki sister i tried your halwa recipe 3 times but the mixture was burning in the lowest part of the pan. and it turn out halwad sabuni thick and chunky. i don't know what i did wrong. please let me know if there is any other idias. thank you

  11. Assalamu Alaikum,

    Usually if it turns out chunky then you stirred it too often/too long at a time. Are you using a good non-stick pan? Also, are you adding the tablespoon of butter/ghee every 15 minutes? The butter helps it to not stick to the pan. I hope this helps, the halwa takes so long to make it is frustrating when it does not turn out right.

  12. Assalamu alaikoum,
    I am making this right now...but the texture does not seem right. I can't seem to get any tiny bubbles as you have in your video. I tried taking off most of the liquid, because there was so much of it. It tastes right, but just the texture is not right, I want to finish it, but I'm not seeing any bubbles!

    Any ideas?

  13. Assalamu Alaikum,

    I am not sure what would cause the bubbles not to form. Did you stir every 15 minutes? I think the bubbles are from the butter. I really wish I could help you but I can't think of why they would not form.

    Did it every end up thickening for you?

  14. Well, I had to get ready for Juma'a, so I ended up just taking it out and leaving it sit. I just got home and tried it, like I said, the taste is right, but I don't think the texture is. I'll just tell people I meant for it to be that way :P

    But I think I had too much liquid in the pan, because after I took it out, bubbles started to form, also, maybe I wasn't mixing it properly. I took it out though because I had already added the spices and peanuts and I didn't want them to burn or something. Is that why you only add the spices in the end, so they don't burn?

    ANYWAY...all that to say, I'm going to wait to see what my husband says when he gets home (he probably won't care), and then in sha'Allah I'll try again sometime next week!

  15. Insha Allah it will work next time. I know if you add the oil too late (when the halwa is too thick) it will not stir in, it just kind of sits on top. If that happens then usually I only add 2-4 Tablespoons of butter so that it doesn't become too greasy looking.

    Also, if the texture is lumpy/chunky that means it was stirred too much/too often. When I stir it every 15 minutes, I usually only stir it for around 30 seconds or so. And, it is more like folding it then actually stirring it.

    Let me know if I can help you with anything else.

  16. I was so exited making it but the texture wasnt right at all,had to put it all in the bin,so i tried Tammy's n it was great,gummy and very halwa i couldnt believe it,my friends say i should start a business.

    Thanx for a videos ur very clear and very good.

  17. That's a good idea, people always buy Halwa because it takes so long to make they would rather buy it then make it!

  18. asalama aleykum,

    to prevent burning of the Halwa you must use the right pan.the non-stick pan that is dark and edgy on the outside is the best if you want to cook can let it stay on the stove for almost an hour without stirring and nothing will me, I cook halwa.

  19. Assalamu Alaikum,

    Thanks so much for the tips! I hope they will help everyone.

  20. Salaam!

    So, after that my husband tried it, and wouldn't believe that I made it until I showed him the pan full of it. He said, "White people can't make that" I had to tell him, "well you better take that back because this white girl made it, and she learned it from another white girl!"

    So anyway, I tried making it again, using less butter, that seemed to work okay. Still not quite the right texture, but the taste is right, I also doubled the spices. I'll have to try adding the oil a little bit sooner, maybe that will help.

    My husband brought some of the first batch to his friends, and they told him that he needs to bring them some every time I make it or he's in trouble.

    When my mom tried the first batch, and asked if I would make it for her Celiac meeting (cause it's gluten free) so I did, thinking most people wouldn't like it too much, but it was a huge hit. I had cut it in tiny squares, and most of it was gone, which means people went back for seconds or even thirds. After the meeting was over, the ladies who print the newsletter asked for the recipe so they could put it in the Christmas newsletter! I hope that's okay, I put your website on the recipe.

    Masha'Allah, I'm really enjoying this recipe, and with a few more tries, I'm sure I'll have in perfected in sha'Allah.

    Thanks again,

  21. Assalam aleykum sister,
    thanks for the nice recipes they look yummy.
    sister i wanted to know about the cup measurements are they universal as am in uk and dont know what cup is right for measuring ingredients. is it possible to get the ingredients in grams please i know its too much too ask but allah will reward you and your family inshaallah.

    sister amina

  22. Assalamu Alaikum,

    I searched for the conversions on the internet, here is what it says:

    Granulated sugar: 1 cup = 200 grams (for this recipe a total of 600 grams of white sugar)

    Brown sugar: 1 cup, packed = 220 grams

    The amount of butter you would need is 113.5 grams

    Water: 1 cup = 236 grams (944 grams total for this recipe)

    112 Grams of Oil

    I hope this helps you with some of the measurements.

  23. Assalam aleykum,

    Mashaallah thank you so much for the conversion, i really appreciate. may Allah reward you and your family.
    sister amina

  24. Wow! I don't even know anyone who makes halwad at home so when I see a non-Somali cooking it in front of my eyes, I can't believe it. Congratulations for your cooking skills. Thank you for making it gluten free. It is like the first time I saw Turkish delights that were gluten free. Cool. But I probably shouldn't learn how to make them because once I learn, I will be eating halwad all the time and get sick from it.

  25. Maaashallah Thank you so Much Sister Amina we have been looking for Halwa for a long time And thanks to you Now we Now how to make it

  26. Hi,
    I am from Russia and my husband is from Somalia.
    Today, we made the halwa using your recipe - step by step. We got an amazing halwa. My husband says that it exactly the same as his mather made in Somalia. Thank you so much!!!!

  27. Thats great, I am glad your halwa turned out nice!

  28. Assalamu Alaikum
    thank you for this video i know how to make halwa but the way i made it took so long so i tried your way and the texture is great,you should try adding cinnamon powder it hold it together. commons i got from family and friends is that i should sell it. thats what i'm doing now. i'm getting order for eid.
    thanks once again

  29. Masha'Allah, I am glad your halwa turned out nice! I will try it with cinnamon next time, I love cinnamon! It tastes nice and smells good too.

  30. I have seen some halwa that is kind of sugar crusted on the outside, why is that??