Love (3rd edition): Sweet Potato and Chocolate Halwa

imageNormally, I try to make it a point to post some sort of romantic/cute/sexual/whatever you want to call it recipe around Valentine’s Day. Almost always, I’m late, as witnessed with the last two years’ posts, both variations on a baked ziti. This year I shall set an unprecedented delay of posting five days after the big event. Oh well, learn to deal with it because this recipe is equally delicious, and certainly deserves to be made, all winter long.

I have never been in love, don’t know much about it, and I am in no rush to find it either. It will come, if I must be cheesy, “when the time is right”, and that special someone is going to be hella lucky because I’ll be showering them with loads of food, causing them to subsequently gain a couple of pounds. Let’s hope they’re okay with that. Furthermore, my soulmate will know that my biggest infatuation will always remain around food because let’s get real, food will never betray you.

Sweet potatoes are bountiful in the fall and winter months and I do believe that they are very sexy indeed. I mean what DSCN1077food isn’t attractive when cooked down in butter and pureed into a velvety deliciousness? Just don’t do it all the time okay? I turned this lone, but fat sweet potato I had lying around into a halwa or eggless, Indian pudding using mostly ingredients I already had in my pantry, perfect for when an occasion, a sweetheart, or most importantly, yourself demands it.

The idea isn’t all mine, I stole it from Manjula’s Kitchenan online cooking series featuring an adorable Indian grandma cooking up the best of what India’s numerous vegetarian cuisines have to offer. Do watch the video because she provides a good demonstration of the technique involved. It’s mostly a process of constant stirring and DSCN1080mashing, but the good news is that this pudding can go from stove to table in a matter of twenty minutes, and when you bite into the warm and creamy mash, accented with hints of cardamom, cinnamon, and a generous helping of chocolate (that addition made by me because we could all use some its charms during these dreadful months), you’ll be loving yourself endlessly for hours after.

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Chocolate HalwaDSCN1081

Adapted just the very slightest from Manjulas Kitchen

I scaled down the recipe a bit to serve either 3 obnoxious or 4 normal people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (obtained from about 1 large sweet potato)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a handful of bittersweet chocolate chips

Method

1. Cook the sweet potato by wrapping it in a moist paper towel and microwaving it for about 7-8 minutes, until soft and tender (a knife should be able to go through easily). Peel and mash the sweet potato. You should have about 1 cup of sweet potato puree.

2. Heat the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium high heat. Add the mashed sweet potato, stirring constantly and pressing down frequently for about 10 minutes, until the sweet potato has darkened slightly in color.

3. Add the milk and sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the halwa, stirring constantly for another 10 minutes.

DSCN10844. Add the ground cardamom and cinnamon and stir for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and fold in the chocolate chips. Serve the halwa hot, right out of the pot.

Cooking Notes

  • I could imagine this halwa being just as delicious with butternut squash, yams, or pumpkin in place of the sweet potato.
  • To maintain a desired level of richness, use at least 2% milk
  • For a more traditional Indian flavor, omit the chocolate chips and garnish with lightly chopped cashews instead.
  • For a Southern-Spin, omit the ground cardamom and add slightly more cinnamon and along with a pinch of ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Garnish with crushed walnuts, pecans, or graham crackers (or all three). Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, or lightly sweetened marscapone cheese. Now you’ve got a fun twist on a sweet potato pie!
  • You may also serve the halwa with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
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