So here I am breaking a two week long silence. Times have been crazy, ‘crazy’ being an understatement. But finally I am here, looking at a blissfully long weekend filled with plenty leisure and lots of great food adventures.
Potato fudge or Ala toffee as we Sri Lankans know it, is something that is loved by many but not really me. In the defence of ala toffee, I have never been fond of toffees even as a child, unless they happen to be chewy which this is not. However, my father is plenty clear on what he wants for avrudu and for him, if there is no ala toffee that equals to no avrudu, so there is always ala toffee for avrudu.
Ala toffee requires a good hour or so near the stove just stirring away till the mixture thickens. But the effort is truly worth it just to see the smiles of all those who enjoy it afterwards (which in fact, is the majority).
- 500g Potato boiled, peeled and mashed
- 1kg Sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 3 tablsp butter
- 20g chopped cashew nuts (Optional)
- Combine the mashed potato and sugar in a pan over low heat. Keep stirring.
- When the mixture is starting to thicken slightly, add the vanilla and the cardamom. Keep stirring.
- The mixture will start to thicken and bubble. Add the butter and the cashew nuts. Continue stirring.
- At this stage, put a small amount of the mixture on to a plate to see if it hardens. If it does, take the mixture off the heat.
- Turn the mixture over to a well oiled flat surface preferably lined with clingfilm. Flatten the mixture to about 1/2cm. Let it cool.
- Once hardened to a pulpy consistency, cut into squares. Let them cool and store in an airtight container.
Ala toffee is brittle yet yielding with a texture that is somewhat between a toffee and mush. It has the earthy taste of potato with subtle hints of vanilla and the piercing notes of cardamom coming through. It is very sweet. I like to have this with a cup of tea, substituting the sugar with a piece of potato fudge is indeed a refreshing change. Or you can suck on it for a good while after lunch or dinner as a form of dessert, whichever way you like. It’s quite a unique something.
Mash the potato very finely so that absolutely no lumps exist. I usually use the food processor for this. The old fashioned (or the very Sri Lankan) way of making ala toffee would be to run it through a string hopper maker. Which is very hard manual labour.
Always test the mixture before turning it over by dabbing a small amount on a separate plate. There really is no way of telling at what point it should be taken off heat otherwise.
Don’t forget your butter! Butter is what makes it loose and soft. Without the butter you will have rock candy in your hands.
So there you have it, a very Sri Lankan treat once again!