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A unique, gently spiced-infused dessert of semolina; traditionally given out for holy nights, weddings, funeral & circumcision ceremonies. 

Turkish semolina halva, irmik helvası made with milk and pine nuts garnished with nuts and Turkish rose petals



Ingredients For Making Turkish Semolina Halva

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 2 Whole Cloves
  • 1 Cardamom Pod, Crushed
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1.5 tbs olive - sunflower oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.25 cups semolina grains (Irmik)
  • A handful of pine nuts (Optional)

For Garnish

  • Ground Cinnamon.



How To Make Irmik Helvası


In a small saucepan heat the milk gently along with the whole spices.  Semolina grains toasted until brown and fragrant for making irmik helva

Once the milk is hot but before boiling, remove from the heat source and pour both the milk and spices into a cup and put aside leave the spices to infuse the milk whilst you continue with the dessert.


Pour the water and sugar into the saucepan and place on a medium heat ring.

Stirring constantly continue to heat the water and sugar until the sugar as completely dissolved. 

Remove from the heat and put aside until required. 


In a medium to large heavy-bottomed saucepan heat the oil and butter until butter has melted. 


Add the semolina (irmik) to the butter/oil and continuously stir to toast the grains. 

The grains will take on a light brown colour and have a gently toasted smell when they are ready. 


Add nuts (if using) and genty toast them for a few moments, continuing to stir.


Taking care that it may splash and sizzle. Pour the sugar water into the saucepan and continuously stir until it is completed absorbed.

--- Homemade irmik helvası with Turkish tea, çay

Use a sieve to strain the infused milk over the saucepan, discarding the whole spices and continue to stir.

As the milk is absorbed by the grains the desert will get thicker & harder to stir.

Continue to stir to dessert to prevent it from catching on the base of the saucepan. 


As the dessert cooks individual grains will start to be more apparent and the desert will become very firm and much harder to move around the saucepan. 


Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover with a clean tea-towel and allow it to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.


The halva can be spooned into a serving dish and cut into portions, small moulds or shaped individually using two teaspoons to create an oval ball.


Cooldown to room temperature and place into a refrigerator until required.


Afiyet Olsun 



Notes On Making Semolina Halva. 


  • What is irmik? Irmik is simply semolina, coarse grains of durum wheat. 
  • Once you've started making the dessert on the hob there is no much opportunity to move away. Irmik helvası required almost constant stirring so it is important to have all your ingredients measured and to hand. 
  • Small saucepans are required for infusing the milk and making the sugared water, you can use two separate saucepans if you wish or simply keep the milk in a cup and reuse the saucepan.
  • A large Cezve - Turkish Coffee Pot is really handy for infusing the milk.
  • Adding oıil to the butter when melting help to prevent it from catching. 
  • Pine nuts can be substituted for other nuts or not added if desired.
  • For vegan irmik helvası, the butter can be substituted for olive oil and the milk substituted for your preferred nut/vegan milk


Irmik helvası, Turkish semolina halva recipe and tips


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