Omani Halwa is a sticky, gelatinous sweet that, although it has become a symbol of Omani hospitality, is just as popular here in the UAE. It is served at all sorts of social gatherings, usually with coffee (gahwa), and is particularly popular at weddings, funerals, birthday celebrations and during Ramadan and Eid gatherings.
The ingredients and proportions thereof vary substantially and recipes are often fiercely guarded when it provides a livelihood for people. Water, sugar, ghee, and cornflour form the foundation, while cardamom, rosewater, saffron, eggs, nuts and dates are added depending on the type of halwa that is being made. It is cooked in a big copper pot, called mirjnl, for a couple of hours, and the constant stirring it requires, makes it a labour intensive process.
In the Old Souk in Al Ain, diagonally across from the fish vendors, on the corner, is an unassuming shop that makes and sells Omani Halwa that is rumoured to be the best, not just in town, but further afield as well.
You definitely need to have a sweet tooth to fully appreciate the sugary hit you get from indulging in this aromatic Middle Eastern delight, and should not complain too much about the expanding waistline either.
* Watch this video if you are interested in how its made.