Potato Alluwa (Potato and Cashew Nut Fudge)

(Photo by HD41117/Flickr)
(Photo by HD41117/Flickr)

This sublime candy depends on the humble potato for its texture and flavour and is a favorite in Sri Lanka.


375 g/12 oz/1 1/2 cups sugar
375 ml/12 fl oz/1 1/2 cups milk
400 g/14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
125 g/4 oz ghee or butter
1 cup cooked, smoothly mashed potato
185 g/6 oz finely chopped raw cashew nuts
2 tablespoons rose water
or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)


Put sugar, milk, condensed milk and ghee into a large heavy saucepan (a non- stick pan is excellent for this). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches softball stage or 116 degrees C (240 degrees F) on a candy thermometer. (To test for softball stage without a thermometer, drop a little into a cup of ice-cold water. If it firms enough to be molded into a soft ball, it has reached the required temperature.)

Remove from heat, add smoothly mashed potato and beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater until all lumps are beaten out. If using a pan with non-stick lining, pour mixture into a bowl before doing this or the metal beaters will scratch the non-stick surface. Return to heat and cook again to softball stage or 116 degrees C (240 degrees F). Remove from heat, stir in nuts, flavouring and cardamom and mix well. Pour into a well-buttered shallow dish or baking tin. Press lightly with a piece of buttered banana leaf or aluminium foil to smooth and flatten the surface. Allow to cool and set, then cut into diamond shapes.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)