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Mmmmmmmmmmmm helva! :) My helva revelation was actually at the Sapanca workshop, following that fabulous hamsi dish! So thank you for that! :D It hit me hard - I fell in love there and then! I couldn't remember whether that was my first time tasting helva - it was certainly my first time tasting helva like that! :D Great, great, stuff. I took 1.5 kg home with me! From Haci Bekir, as recommended. :D The husband was happy.

Speaking of which, what else do you guys take back home from Turkey? :)


I last had helva during my trip to India! It is regarded as a delicious hot sweet dish and is also distributed as offerings in temples. I think I cannot forget the taste; delicious, rich and exotic. This sounds similar, thank you so much for sharing information :)


Hi Ana, nice to see you here. I remember your affection for helva. :)
Oh gosh, we carry a lot of stuff back from Turkey, every trip. Keep in mind we live in Malaysia where food that you can probably find fairly easily are not so available. And we love buying homemade / small batch goods from sellers at all the farmer's markets we frequent out east.
Right now our fridge is filled with: pekmez (pear, mulberry, apple, carob), the last of 2 bottles of pomegranate molasses, 3 grades of bulgur and einkorn wheat bulgur, firik/freeka, spices like wild thyme, sumac, various bibers/chilies, homemade tomato and red pepper pastes, dried tomatoes, lots of dried fruit, walnuts, hazelnuts, poppy seed paste, Black Sea couscous (like pasta pearls), dried and smoked and green beans, dried corn in various forms (flour, toasted flour, crushed, whole kernels) ......
Yes, we do have a separate fridge for all this Turkey loot. :)

You're welcome Anna! Ritual uses for helva in Turkey include as a food served at funerals and memorials. I love the Indian versions too. Thanks for reading!


This only makes me want to visit Turkey more...

I'm very intrigued by the note about Gypsophila root, since my son can't eat eggs and it makes baking a challenge. I've tried all the hippy substitutes but they can make things very gummy and weird tasting (flax, I'm looking at you). Any ideas on what it would be called in a culinary context? My google fu isn't pulling anything up.


Which helva? I say Saray helva is the best, just give it a try. It is like pişmaniye but first grinded then compressed.

Another tradition is to eat helva after a fish meal. Put plain tahin helva in a cup and mash it with 5-10 drops of lemon juice with a fork. Then put it into oven 180C take it when it is melty and little bronze on top. Serve it while hot.


I have heard a lot of good about helva and you made me want to try it even more.. I don't really have an experience in traveling to Asia, it's always been my dream to see some Asian countries to be honest. I admire what you are doing and maybe one day I will be able to share some trips stories :)

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