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Sunday, 18 January 2009

Gooey Sweet Swede Squares


There’s a few fruit and veggie deals on at Tesco these few days. Like when you buy a 2kg bag of potatoes, you get a broccoli plus 3 swedes free! This was a bit weird for a veggie deal (I thought)! But I got them anyway, because it was still a good deal. So, I now had 3 swedes at home to cook throughout the week. I’ve had swedes a few times before but I’ve only had them in soups. So, I googled for swede recipes to see if there were anything more creative that I could do with them. I ended up finding more soup recipes and some roasts. Hmmm!


Then I got the idea of making a sort of swede burfi or halva when I found this Mango Coconut Burfi recipe from the RedChillies Blog (there are some quite nice recipes on there, by the way, although they are not all vegan. But most can be easily veganised). Swede has a pretty bland taste and slightly on the sweet side. So, I thought why not make a sweet recipe out of it?!

When I actually cooked this, I put slightly too much sugar (I’ve reduced it in the recipe), but it was nice nevertheless. I just have to eat it in smaller portions! I also decided I would not have any oil or margarine in this, so I replaced this with a little custard powder to help it to set.

I used one swede for this recipe and it yielded 8 squares approximately 1.5 cubic inches or 4 cubic cm. The texture is more gooey than regular halva which is why I did not think they could be called swede halva. I quite liked them though. I refrigerated them and found they taste better this way.

Ingredients (8 squares – 1.5 cubic inches or 4 cubic cm)

1 swede, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons demerara sugar
1 cup soy milk (use coconut milk if you want a richer texture)
3-4 cardamon pods (whole or sliced open) or ½ teaspoon cardomon powder
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
½ teaspoon custard powder (or cornstarch)

  • Place the grated swede with the sugar in a saucepan. Cook over low heat and covered for 30 – 40 minutes, or until swede is soft and easy to mash. Stir occasionally and mash just a little bit.
  • Add in soymilk and cardamon pods. Let simmer for a few minutes. Then let reduce until thick. Add 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut.
  • Add custard powder and stir vigorously so as to avoid lumps from forming.
  • This will thicken quite quickly.
  • Remove from heat and pour in a rectangular container to set. (you can remove the cardomon pods if you want before doing this).
  • Sprinkle with the rest of the desiccated coconut. Then, even it on the top with a spoon so that it is about 3 – 4 cm or 1 – 1.5 inches thick (or desired thickness).
  • You can place it in the refrigerator for 2 hours, then cut into squares.

You can add raisins, nuts and/or dates.
If you don’t like cardomon, vanilla essence might be nice too.



  1. i would have never thought of using a turnip like this - too awesome, Lovlie! there are a lot of turnips around now at the stores and i'm gonna have to try your recipe! thanks! :D your sweet squares look wonderful! mmmmmmmmm!

  2. Thanks so much for the note! I just started reading through some of your posts, and the tangy crunchy granola you made looks amazing--will definitely have to try it asap!

  3. Wow, what a fascinating idea! I've only ever eaten swedes twice in my life and both times I treated them much like potatoes. It looks yum!

  4. this looks irresistiable!

  5. Nice blog. My girlfriend priscus who will like this one much :-)

  6. What a fantastic idea! I can imagine that these must have been great.

  7. what a creative idea!It looks delicious...I also never knew you could do burfy with soja milk!Yay!

  8. At first I wondered why a vegan would eat a person from Sweden, but then I figured out that swedes are another name for turnips. Who knew?

  9. wow...I feel so uninformed - I've never heard of a swede, and had no idea it was the alternate name for turnips (now turnips I've heard of). These sound super delish...I may have to venture into the world of turnips for these babies! :)

  10. Wow, how creative. I have always called this veg, rutabaga. But I love the term swede.

  11. Oh, wow! This is a new sweet to me. I saw this via Tastespotting and was completely intrigued! Thank you for introducing me to the lovely Swede Square.

  12. Wow, I never would have thought of making something sweet with swede. How cool, and the coconut on top is perfect! YAY for coconut!

  13. Jessy, Cinnamonapple, Vegetation and Em, Thanks for your nice comments. I would love to hear from you if you do try this!

    Kurt, I've never seen swedes in Mauritius though. But I think there are some other turnip varieties.

    Mihl, yes they were really nice, quite different! Just had the last 2 squares today.

    Kahliyalogue, They are not exactly like burfi. But after a few days in the fridge they were close to a halva and tasted even better! I will try them again sometime with coconut milk and see if they get a better texture.

    fujikopez and Sara, swede are actually Swedish turnips. They are slightly different from regular turnips, bigger and I believe less peppery in taste.

    JennDZ - The Leftover Queen, And I never knew they were called rutabaga! I kind of prefer the name rutabaga! Now I've learnt something today!

    Cakespy, thanks for coming by! Would love to know if you try this!

    River, I love coconut! Makes everything taste better!

  14. This is genius. You are so creative. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  15. Ah, finally! I've tried to leave a comment on your last few posts and it wouldn't work.

    These look fantastic! So strange, but fantastic!

  16. I've often toyed with the idea of baking something sweet with swedes and this sounds like a novel way of doing that! Halva, mmmm... ^_^

  17. jrsimon56, thanks for commenting. I'm glad you were inspired!

    Gina, weird you couldn't post comments. I think a few people have had some problems with blogger these past few days... but anyway! I thought they would taste strange but I really liked them!

    DJ, I know you're a great halva fan! You've said that before! Me too!

  18. oh wow. i want to try this!

  19. Ive also had some trouble commenting on your blog lately..bytheway- what is custard powder?what is it made of? thanx,mia

  20. Mia, custard pwoder basically has cornstarch as main ingredient plus colour, salt and flavouring.
    The one that I buy here is the Bird's brand and it is suitable for Vegans. The colour is annatto which is of plant origin. I don't know the flavouring but according to many sources on the internet, this brand is vegan.
    If you don't have custard powder (or a vegan one, cornstarch will be fine. You just won't get a rich yellow colour. But you can add some colour though. :)

  21. I fell on your blog while clicking now and then on other culinary blogs. Your blog is really awesome! Think I'll come and read it from time to time. Love your explanation about veganism! So cute!

  22. thanx!I`ll try with cornstarch then.. :)

  23. Interesting recipe. I've never tried a swede! I had to Google it to find out what it was. :)

  24. Such an unique idea, looks delicious and inviting :-)

  25. Such a creative recipe...

    S many delicious recipes here1

  26. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  27. Thank you! I was looking for something different and interesting to do with swede, and this fit the bill perfectly :) I made it with coconut milk and added a handful of golden raisins along with the cardamom. I also mixed the custard powder with a little coconut milk before adding it to the mixture, so it would combine smoothly.


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