This following last month’s Algerian Kaak, this month’s MENA Cooking Club Challenge is the beautiful Bahrain.Bahrain’s challenge host is the cheery and bright Joanne from What’s On The List?
I have always wanted to tackle a homemade version of Bahraini Halawa (حلاوى بحرينية), and even got a recipe from a Bahraini expert, but for some reason it took this challenge to finally get me making it.
I discovered it is very similar in concept to Qatari Sago wherein the sugar is also caramelized before a starchy thickening liquid is added. The primary difference is that Qatari sago uses sago peals, and Bahraini halawa uses cornstarch.
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
1/2 cup cornflour
1/2 cup rosewater
1 large pinch saffron
1 1/2 tsp round cardamom
1/2 tsp liquid red food coloring
1/4 cup oil
1 cup roughly chopped nuts (cashew and pistachio)
Seep the saffron in the rosewater; set aside.
Dissolve the cornstarch in the water; set aside.
Over medium-high heat, melt the sugar until a light brown.
As soon as all the sugar has melted, add the whisked cornstarch-water mix and stir continuously with a wooden spoon.
The sugar will harden immediately, but do not worry and keep stirring until it dissolves and the mixture is smooth.
Add the saffron-rosewater, ,cardamom, red food coloring, and the oil.
Stir frequently over medium heat until a ball forms around the wooden spoon as you stir and the mixture removes itself from the sides (total cooking time 35-40 minutes)
Stir in the nuts then pour into your serving container.
Decorate with more nuts and refrigerate until set and ready to serve.