Shakarkand or Sweet Potatos are in season and I am including them in my daily meals in one way or the other. Mostly I love to just roast or boil them to eat as chaat but sometimes I indulge in a dessert like shakarkand ka halwa or shakarkand ke gulab jamun. This is my first sweet potato halwa of the season. Sangeeta Khanna of Healthfood Desi Videshi has some interesting salads and other recipes with sweet potato that I plan to try. Sweet potatoes are very healthy and can be used instead of white potatoes. It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The Indian sweet potato has a nice pink skin and a yellowish white flesh inside.
Frankly I had no idea how creative one can in cooking with them. The tuber is so varsetile that it can be used for soups, salads, cassroles, chips, stir fries, and desserts of all kinds. It can be baked, roasted, boiled or used raw as per the need and taste. The leaves of the sweet potato are also edible. I mean the list is endless. one is just spoilt for choices.
Shakarkand ka halwa is a winter speciality. This sweet tuber is a favorite with people who are fasting and is part of the diwali faraal. Delicate sweetness of boiled mashed sweet potatoes, just the right amount of sugar flavoured with green cardamom gives it a unique taste. I don’t use milk in in the recipe but some people do.
Ingredients for the halwa :
Sweet Potatoes – 2-3 Medium size (1 cup boiled/mashed)
Sugar – (depends on the sweetness of sweet potato so add accordingly)
Ghee – 3-4 tablespoon
Green Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp
Almonds or Cashewnuts for garnish
Choose sweet potatoes that are firm and do not have any cracks, bruises or soft spots. Wash them clean and boil till they become soft. You can steam, microwave or pressurecook them too.
Once they are tender, take them out in a plate and peel.
Mash and keep aside.
In a heavy bottom pan heat ghee (clarified butter) or oil. ( I prefer ghee).
Add mashed sweet potatoes to the hot ghee and stir.
Let it cook on low-medium heat till the rawness is gone and a nice aroma begins to float from it. Add cardamom powder and saute some more. I saute it till it gives a slightly toasted aroma.
At this point stir in the sugar. Do taste the shakarkand to adjust the sugar. Mix well.
Now, cook it till it becomes nice golden brown.
Keep stiring so it doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan.
When the halwa gets a nice colour add shredded blanched almonds or roasted crushed cashewnuts. I find almonds taste better than cashewnuts. It is a personal preferance.
Take it off the heat and serve hot garnished with more nuts. You can sprinkle some cardamom powder on top.
Tell me how do you use Sweet potatoes?