I prepared this recipe on August 20, 2016, for the El Paso Downtown Artist and Farmers Market as part of a series of local foods cooking demonstrations.
I first learned to make halva as a teenager from some Indian friends living in Mexico. Halva is a sweet recipe that is prepared in many countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The versions I have learned involve a starch (such as wheat, carrot, or yams), a ground seed (such as almonds), dried fruits, milk and honey.
In this version, I used big zucchinis as the starch – the type that may have stayed in the garden beyond their tender stage. Because pecans were available at the farmers market, I used ground pecans as well. The folks who tasted this said it reminded them of oatmeal.
Grate one large zucchini and sautee in a medium pot or pan with about two tablespoons of butter. When the zucchini softens, add about 1/2 cup finely ground pecans and about 3 cups of milk (I used almond milk this time, but a good quality cow’s milk works as well!). Add about a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of cardamom. Stir occasionally as the mixture simmers. You can enjoy it as a porridge or allow it to simmer all the way until it becomes a dense cake. Either way, be sure to drizzle it with some local honey once it is served.
I hope you enjoy this zuchinni halva as a breakfast or dessert!
Photo by EP Downtown Artist and Farmers Market