MULTAN, Dec 15: Known for its taste and sweetness, Multani Sohan Halwa is considered to be one of the gifts of the saints’ city.
Sohan Halwa is among six gifts for which Multan is known for. A famous Persian quote includes dust, heat, beggars and graveyards as the four other gifts of Multan.
Mango is a seasonal fruit of summer and Sohan Halwa is a winter’s dish, but both have become the identity of Multan home and abroad.
The city has got international fame owing to these two sweet temptations. Some historians say a Hindu, Sohan Ram, had a name in the business of selling milk in ancient times in Multan. He would sell it in mounds daily.
One day, he could not sell a large quantity of un-boiled milk, which was boiled by him in a big container so that it might not get spoiled. Ram made it thicker to the extent that it turned into a crunchy ‘Khoya’ and later he mixed various dry fruits into the product.
The new product (halwa) was liked as much by his customers that it was named after his name as Sohan Halwa.
Another theory says that the sweet dish had a special association with the Iranian city of Sohan as Multan had been a main trading centre since old times. The halwa travelled here from Iran with traders and ultimately became identity of the city.
Sohan is a Hindi word, which means an item of rubbing. While preparing halwa, slotted spoon (khurpa) plays a vital role, therefore, it is known as “Sohan Halwa”.
It is a fact that Sohan Halwa of some other cities of south Punjab, including Dera Ghazi Khan, Uch Sharif, Mailsi, Bahawalpur and Makhdoom Aali, has earned a name too.
However, it is an undeniable fact that due to its popularity among sweet lovers, Multani Sohan Halwa has excelled all others.
Halwa preparation scene is very interesting to watch. It begins with boiling of mounds of milk in large containers kept on big stoves. A man keeps on stirring spoon in containers, by the time milk starts boiling. The process is sped up as it gets boiled.
Afterwards, flour is mixed in it matching its weight. Later, sugar and ghee are combined and the laborious process of preparation goes on till its baking.
When one enters Qadirabad from Chowk Fawara, one finds several eateries of the dish located at Tareen Road, in addition to other shops within the city. A few families of the city are very popular among Halwa lovers. They are Peerzada, Hafiz Abdul Waddood and Hafiz Habibur Rehman families.
Beware of shops and vendors selling halwa in the name of famous brands of the city at bus terminals, railway station and wagon stands.—APP