Omani University develops new `halwa`

Last Updated: Feb 21, 2011, 12:46 PM IST

Muscat: A research team from a university in Oman has developed what it terms as "healthy halwa", a sweet dish with low fat alternatives.

Mohammad Shafiur Rahman, a professor in the department of food science and nutrition in the Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat initiated the project to develop low-fat halwa, Gulf News reported.

Halwa is a popular sweet, commonly served in Asia and the Middle East.

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

"Considering the type and amount of fat and sugar content used for making Omani halwa, it could be categorised as an unhealthy food, especially if consumed in high quantities," Rahman said.

According to the research team, the "healthy halwa" could be developed with reduced input of fat and sugar and the addition of other compounds considerd beneficial to health.

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

The university team is also working with the Al Amri Omani Halwa Company in Al Seeb to formulate a low-fat and low-sugar halwa.

IANS