I was looking for sweet potatoes in the market on Friday, which was Marathi New Year. I got it listed under “yam” but as this article on the Kitchn would explain, it is really a sweet potato. When I bought it I had no idea that it would be so surprisingly orange within, unlike the purplish cream-colored ones I had always seen in India.
Anyway, today I made this dessert which I was planning to make on Friday, about three days late than the new year day! But that’s alright, as long as I get to enjoy this satisfying bowl of dessert. The common Indian recipe would be lacto-vegetarian and would use milk and ghee. However, I was looking forward to make a dairy-free vegan version, so substituted that with coconut milk and fresh grated coconut. For sweetness, I chose to rely upon dates, instead of using any refined sugar.
SWEET POTATO & COCONUT PUDDING or HALAVA
1 sweet potato.
7 dates (yeah, the magic number, like 7 Harry Potter books!)
1.5 cups of coconut milk
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (I used frozen)
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder (really adds the Indian touch… but can be substituted with cinnamon powder as well)
Chopped nuts like almond/ pistachio for garnish (optional)
A pinch or two of salt
1-2 tbspoon olive oil
- Shred sweet potato into thin strips using mandolin.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Add shredded sweet potato. Sprinkle salt. Stir for 3-5 minutes.
- Add coconut milk, chopped dates, and cardamom powder to the pan. Cover it and let the sweet potato cook. Takes about 10 minutes. It may require intermittent stirring.
- Take care than sweet potato does not become too mushy. It would absorb the coconut milk but don’t wait till it becomes very dry. We need a consistency that is characteristic of pudding or halava.
- When it is time to take it off the heat, mix in the fresh coconut for bringing the extra texture.
- Garnish with chopped nuts.
Like any pudding or halava, you can have it while it is still warm or cool it in fridge before serving. It tastes nice both ways.