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Kolva

My Nona used to make me a sweet whole wheat dish that she called Colva when I lost my baby teeth. Do you have a recipe for this? I think it’s cooked wheat seed and honey?            Alyse Elias Matsil

Kolva and assoureh are two kinds of  wheat puddings eaten in Greece, Turkey, Armenia and Syria.  To my knowledge, neither is specifically Sephardic.  They are delicious, made with different combinations of dried fruits, nuts and honey –  a far, far cry from that box of Wheatena.   The following recipe for kolva comes from a 1922 comparative study of nutrition among world populations, Foods of the Foreign-Born In Relation To Health by Bertha M. Wood.  No short-cuts here – it calls for soaking & boiling whole wheat for 12 hours – and it’s about as basic as it gets.  Which may be just right.  I haven’t made kolva and I’ve got questions of my own, but I offer it for you to try or to compare to your own recipe for kolva, if you’ve got one.

This kind of recipe can easily be halved.

  • 1 pound wheat
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup mixed fancy candy (Note: I’m not sure what was meant by “fancy candy” in 1922.  I suspect it may refer to glazed fruit – candied citron, etc. – if someone else knows better, let us know!)

Soak the wheat in water for ten or twelve hours.  Rinse well, and boil it in fresh water.  Remove the wheat from the fire before it cracks.  Strain, and then spread it overnight on white muslin.  Roast the flour in a pan by itself until light brown.  Allow to cool.  Add the sugar, almonds and walnuts.  Add this mixture to the boiled wheat, and mix in also the spiced fancy candy.  Serve cold.

I’d love to hear from anyone else who’s familiar with kolva.

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