Massively popular in Somalia, I understand that xalwo (pronounced halwa) was originally for special occasions only--weddings and greater Eid, for example--but has in the last few years become available less expensively and is now eaten far more often.
- 1/4 C butter
- 1/2 Tbsp cardamom
- 3 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 C vegetable oil
- 1/4 C cornstarch
- 1 3/4 C water, divided
- orange and yellow food colouring, if desired
- 1/4 C brown sugar
- 1 1/4 C sugar
2. In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch, 1/4 C water, and a drop of each food colouring (see notes, below).
3. In a deep pot over high heat, combine sugars and 1 1/2 C water. When this comes to a boil, carefully stir in cornstarch mixture. Reduce heat to medium-high and cover for 2-3 minutes.
4. Start adding the butter mixture, a spoonful about every 2 minutes, and stir well with each addition, until all butter is incorporated.
5. Continue cooking and stirring gently until the xalwo starts releasing oil. Use a ladle or baster to remove oil and discard. Repeat this step, stirring and removing oil, until the xalwo comes together into a mass.
6. Transfer to a bowl, carefully, and cool 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
Robyn's notes: This was ok, but I had a weird experience with the flavour. The candy didn't seem to smell like anything at all, but once I put it in my mouth it felt more like I was smelling spices than tasting them. That was sort of off-putting, so I can't go above 3 stars. I didn't use food colouring, I went traditional in that respect and used saffron. For instructions on doing so, watch the video linked below. Gotta be patient with step 5. I was so worried that I would overcook and crystallize the whole batch that I thought no oil was being released. I kept turning the heat down and then inching it back up because of that worry. In the end I could have just cooked it merrily along, the oil did release at the end, though it wasn't easy to scoop out. Once cooled, I found it easiest to cut with a pizza cutter. Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!
*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often