Heat a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute.
Add grated coconut,
and fry it, stirring constantly, until it looks dry and flaky but is still snow-white —
5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer the coconut to a bowl.
Combine sugar, cream of tartar if you are using it, and cold water in the pan,
and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring. Let the syrup continue to boil over medium
heat, uncovered, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the syrup is thickened and looks
frothy and full of bubbles.
Add coconut and ground cardamom, and cook for 2 to 5
minutes, stirring rapidly and vigorously.
Stir in the ghee or vegetable oil, and
continue cooking until the mixture begins to foam and stick to the bottom of the
pan — about 1 minute. Do not stop stirring the fudge during this last critical
minute for any reason whatsoever, or you may end up with crystals of candy instead
of flaky-textured fudge.
Immediately pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch square
pan or onto a square of greased paper, and working deftly and quickly, spread the
fudge to form an even layer, patting it gently with a flat spatula. Do not pack
too much or the fudge will become dense. The fudge should be light and foamy, filled
with air pockets.
Let it cool for 5 minutes, then cut it into 1 1/2-inch square pieces.
This fudge keeps well for several months if stored in tightly sealed containers.