Diwali recipe: coconut milk fudge

This is a fairly ancient Gujarati sweet which is perfect for Diwali. Traditionally it’s made using fresh coconut and milk which has been reduced for hours but as coconut trees don’t readily grow here and there’s no need to spend hours reducing your own milk, I make these with desiccated coconut and condensed milk – two readily available store-cupboard ingredients.

What’s even more satisfying is that the fudge can be made within minutes (depending on your ball-rolling skills) and look impressive, so they will stand you in good stead for last-minute dinners, bring-a-thing-to-work days, picnics, bribes and village fete offerings.


  • 400ml condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or finely ground seeds from 6 pods
  • 250g unsweetened dessicated coconut

Pour the condensed milk into a non-stick saucepan and put it on a gentle heat. Stir frequently so that the milk doesn’t catch on the bottom. (If it does burn, the burnt bits can taste quite nice, but it’s a fine line between nice and horrid.)

When the milk comes to a simmer, add 200g of the desiccated coconut and the ground cardamom. Keep stirring over a low heat until the mixture starts to look like dough. To test whether it’s ready, pinch a piece off and leave it to one side to cool for a minute before you see if you can roll it into a ball. If you can, take the pan off the heat and transfer the fudge to another bowl.

While you wait for the fudge to cool enough for you to handle it, get a bowl and put the rest of the desiccated coconut into it (to roll the fudge in), and another clean plate on which to put the finished fudge.

When the fudge is cool enough to touch, roll a bit into a small ball (roughly 3cm in diameter). Roll it around in the desiccated coconut and put it on to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the fudge.

You can keep these in a clean tub in the fridge for up to a week.

Tip: As a treat for my grandma (who loves a bar of Bounty), we sometimes melt some good-quality chocolate and dunk the fudge into it, using a cocktail stick, then set them in the fridge until hard.

This recipe is from my book, Made in India, available to buy from good book shops (and amazon). Photo credit goes to the wonderfully talented David Loftus.