Now, a healthy halwa in Oman

Dubai: Researchers have developed a low-fat Omani "healthy halwa", a popular sweet that has become a symbol of Omani hospitality.

A team from Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, led by Prof Mohammad Shafiur Rahman of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, has developed the healthy halwa which is often handed out during celebrations and religious occasions.

"Considering the type and amount of fat and sugar content is used for making Omani halwa, it could be categorised as an unhealthy food specially if consumed in high quantities," the `Gulf News` quoted Prof Rahman as saying.

According to the researchers, healthy halwa could be developed with reduced input of fat and sugar, and the addition of other compounds considered beneficial to health.

Halwa is a traditional candy in Oman, and is consumed on a day-to-day basis, or during formal social occasions. It`s usually served in Omani homes before drinking Arabic coffee.

The people of Oman have passed on the technology of making halwa through generation of artisans and pride themselves in being able to make one of the best in the Gulf.

Halwa is mainly made up of starch, sugar, water, ghee, and aromatised with saffron, nuts and rose water. Omani halwa is usually made with sugar (50 per cent), water (25 per cent), mill flour (10 per cent) and ghee (15 per cent).