Halva is any of various dense, sweet confections with roots in the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. It is also served in the Caucasus, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Balkans, Eastern and Western Europe, Malta and in 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”.

Tahini-based halva with pistachios

This type is made by grinding oily seeds, such as sesame or sunflower seeds, to a paste, and then mixing with hot sugar syrup cooked to hard-crack stage. This type is popular in eastern Arab nations, the Mediterranean, and in Balkan regions and countries. Some include Bosnia and Herzegovina , Croati , Romania , Serbia , Macedonia , Montenegro , Bulgaria , Russia , Greece and Bangladesh , Cyprus , Egypt , Iraq , Iran , Albania , Central Asia , Southern India , The Caucasus region and Turkey. It is also popular in Algeria and on the central Mediterranean islands of Malta.