Persian Purim Halvah

What do Persian Jews prepare for each other to celebrate Purim? I have always wondered about this. The Persian Jewish community is very insular, and I have never had the opportunity to ask. Thanks to the development of social media, it was possible for me to approach a group of Persian Jewish women to inquire. The special Purim treat of the Persian Jews is saffron halvah.

Saffron halvah is not like the white sesame halvah I am used to from Israel. A base of flour and oil is cooked, and then flavored with nuts and spices. Its consistency is more akin to that of a brownie. The resulting halvah has a deep golden tone, and is redolent of saffron and rosewater. The soft pastry is accentuated with the crunch of almonds and pistachios. It is a Purim treat that truly harkens back to Queen Esther’s palace.

Saffron Halvah
Adapted from the Iran Chamber Society

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 7/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rosewater
  • 12 threads of saffron
  • 1 tablespoon almonds, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios, crushed
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy pot.
  2. Mix in the flour.
  3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly.
  4. When the dough thickens, turn off the flame.
  5. In a separate pot, bring the water and sugar to a boil.
  6. Add the saffron to release its golden color and aroma.
  7. Add the rosewater.
  8. Turn off the heat.
  9. Pour the sugar syrup into the dough.
  10. Mix thoroughly.
  11. Pour the halvah onto a serving platter.
  12. Flatten the dough with a spatula or spoon.
  13. Garnish with crushed almonds and pistachios.

Share:

Leave a Reply