• Yield: Serves 12

  • Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour maceration prep, 30 minutes cooking

Carrot + Walnut Halva | halva-ye havij-e urmia

This nutritious, gluten-free and comforting halva is associated with the Winter Festival/shab-e yalda in Azarbaijan.



  • 2lb/900g carrots, peeled and cut to 1in/2.5cm slices

  • 1 cup/200g sugar

  • 1 cup/240ml grape molasses

  • 2 cups/250g walnuts, toasted and coarsely ground

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons rose water

  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachio kernels

  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds or coconuts flakes

  • 1/4 cup/40g coarsely chopped walnuts

Cooking in Iran Cooking in Iran by Najmieh Batmanglih


1. To make the halva: Puree the carrots and sugar in a food processor. Transfer to a medium-sized laminated cast-iron pot. Cover and allow to macerate for 1 hour.

2. Place the pot over low heat, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Set aside 2 tablespoons for garnish.

3. Add the grape molasses and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

4. Add the walnuts (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish), saffron-rose water, cardamom, and cinnamon, stirring constantly for 2 to 4 minutes, until you have a thick, grainy halva.

5. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with the carrots, pistachios, almonds and walnuts. Allow to cool and serve either as a main dish with lavash bread or alone as a dessert. Nush-e joon!

Excerpted from Cooking in Iran by Najmieh Batmanglij. Copyright 2018 Mage Publishers.

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