Sweet Potato Halva or Burfi or Squares
Shakarkandi ka Halwa
Shakar=sugar, kand=tuber. When fasting, Hindus can not eat anything containing cereals to break the fast. My grandmother, who fasted at least twice a week, used to make this dish with either sweet potatoes or ordinary potatoes. As children, we used to look forward to her fasting, as she always cooked special meals in the evening. She also used to tell us stories specific to each of her fasts. Serves 3-4.
300 gm. sweet potatoes (2 medium). The ones with orange flesh taste better in my view.
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp. sugar, adjust to taste. You may not need to add sugar at all, if sweet potatoes are sweet enough.
2-3 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
1/4 tsp. green cardamom powder (freshly ground is better)
2 tbsp. chopped nuts of your choice (optional). I use pistachios alone or a mix of blanched almonds and pistachios
Boil sweet potatoes in their skin. Sweet potatoes can be cooked in a microwave. Place in a sandwich bag, with 2-3 tbsp. water and cook on full, for 7-8 minutes. If not soft enough to touch, microwave for another 2-3 minutes.
When cool, peel and mash. Once boiled, taste. If sweet enough, you will not require to add sugar.
Add and mix cardamom powder.
Heat ghee in a heavy bottomed or non-stick pan.
Fry mashed sweet potatoes, stirring frequently, until ghee begins to separate.The halva tastes better when fried well.
Taste and if needed, add sugar. Cook, stirring all the time, for a further 2-3 minutes.
Turn off heat and add 2/3rd of the nuts. Mix.
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with remaining nuts.
If you want to make burfi squares, spread it out on a greased plate and allow to cool. Then cut into squares or diamond shapes. Serve warm or cold.