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Halwa (halawa, alva, haleweh, halava, helava, helva, halwa, halua, aluva, chalwa) refers to many types of dense, sweet confections, served across the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Balkans,Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Malta The word halawa (حلاوة) in Arabic means 'sweetness', while the word halwa (حلوى) means sweets or candy.
Various types of Halwa from India are distinguished by the region and the ingredients from which they are prepared. The most famous include sooji (or suji) halwa (semolina), (wheat), moong dal ka Halwa (mung bean Halwa), gajar halwa (carrot), dudhi halwa, chana daal halwa (chickpeas), and Satyanarayan halwa (variation of suji halwa, with the addition of detectable traces of banana), and kaju Halwa (cashew nut). Kashi halwa, made from winter melon or ash gourd, is a famous and traditional sweet ofKarnataka, and mainly makes a regular appearance in traditional Brahmin weddings.
In the Indian state of Kerala, halwa is known as haluva or aluva. It is one of the most commonly found or easily recognized sweets in bakeries throughout Kerala. Kozhikode (Anglicized as Calicut) in Kerala, is famous for its unique and exotic haluva, which is popularly known as Kozhikodan Haluva. Significant Arab and Middle Eastern influence in this region, through ancient trade routes via the Arabian Sea and through Arab traders who settled here, contributed to the evolution of Kozhikodan Haluva. Europeans used to call Kozhikodan Haluva 'sweet meat' due to its texture. A street in Calicut where Kozhikodan Haluvas were sold was named Sweet Meat Street (S.M. Street for short) during colonial rule. Kozhikodan haluva is mostly made from maida (highly refined wheat), and comes in various flavours, such as banana, ghee, coconut, cashew, date, tender coconut, pineapple, jackfruit, etc. However, karutha haluva(black haluva) made from rice is also very popular.
In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, alva is known as halwa. Tirunelveli, in Tamil Nadu, is famous for its unique and exotic haluva, which is popularly known as Tirunelveli Iruttukadai halwa. Significant for its taste and the rajput who settled here, contributed to the evolution of Tirunelveli Halwa. Tirunelveli Halwa is mostly made from maida (highly refined wheat).