Halva (halawa, alva, haleweh, halava, helava, helva, halwa, halua, aluva, chalva, chałwa) is any of various dense, sweet confections served across the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Balkans, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Malta and the Jewish diaspora. In some Indian cultures, the dish is known as a soup-based sweet. Identical sweets exist in other countries, such as China, though these are not generally referred to as "halva".
In global, popular usage it means "desserts" or "sweet", and describes two types of desserts:
- This type of halva is slightly gelatinous and made from grain flour, typically semolina (suji- India). The primary ingredients are clarified butter (ghee), flour, and sugar.
- Nut butter-based
- This type of halva is crumbly and usually made from tahini (sesame paste) or other nut butters, such as sunflower seed butter. The primary ingredients are nut butter and sugar.
Halva can be kept at room temperature with little risk of spoilage. However, during hot summer months, it is better kept refrigerated, as it can turn runny after several days.