Saturday 9 August 2014

Sinagpore: Making Omani halwa

Homemade Omani halwa
While a beef rendang simmered for a few hours on the cooker, I began construction of a vat of Omani halwa as an experiment for an event at work next week.

Halwa formed a big part of my memories of Oman. The chaps in the office would bring plastic pots of the gloopy mixture round the office for special occasions. The recipient was then expected to find a scrap of paper onto which a generous scoop of the jelly would be placed  - the oil from the blob would slowly creep to the edge of the makeshift plate if left for more than a few minutes. My fondest memory was sitting with a group of Omanis eating dates, halwa and coffee in Ras Al Hadd fort while chatting in Arabic about their memories of working on the RAF base.

Once the sugar had dissolved in the water, I added the tapioca flour until the mixture thickened and then slowly added the melted ghee, saffron, cardamon, nutmeg and rosewater. Finally I added toasted sunflower seeds which are not very common in Oman, but I thought it would add a bit more interest to first-timers in Singapore. Two dishes and a small tester pot were then placed in the fridge to set.

Unfortunately, although the smell and taste were perfect, but the jelly did not set sufficiently. I will attempt to reheat and add a little more thickener before making another batch. Nonetheless, a teaspoon or two with a cup of strong black coffee brought memories flooding back.

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