I don’t know if you anthropomorphise food, but I think of sweet potatoes as humble sorts of chaps. The chaps who turn up for work and don’t raise a fuss, just quietly get the job done. An essential job done.
In terms of American football (bear with me), I see these jolly orange tubers, with their rough skins, as fullbacks or tightends, the backbone of the offensive team – letting the more delicate quarterback (the star, generally) do his thing.
And the star of the team most definitely would be a delicate curly kale or a creamy-curded cauliflower. Both of these vegetables tend to dictate the tone of the team/recipe with their not too subtle tastes.
These two veggies have received much glory and attention over recent years, but if you look at as many recipes as I do you may see that sweet potatoes feature in a high proportion of them. The healthy ones, at least. But somehow they aren’t show-offs about it. They heroically hold up other flavours and textures with their sturdy structure and simple taste.
Sweet potatoes can be sweet (doh), they can be savoury; they can be gratinated (Kalyn’s Kitchen), roasted, steamed, pureed, curried (I often switch squash for sweet potato here), baked, burgered (Tinned Tomatoes), cookied (Veggie Desserts), souped (and this is a favourite), casseroled, made into noodles, salads, and pastries (this one too), and even stir fried. Some people even like them in smoothies. (Reboot With Joe)
And of course, we all like them as wedges. (I also like them with smoked paprika and cumin seeds.) Well, most of us like them as wedges. Oddly, my Rachel – who likes more foods than I do (I am the pickiest in my family) – doesn’t much care for sweet potatoes. Strange child. She did however say upon eating these that they weren’t too bad for sweet potatoes. She ate four, I think. But that might have been hunger talking as I don’t think she had eaten for about 5 hours. But she loved the dip. Andrew – who will pretty much eat anything I make, except tempeh – came home late and wolfed the twice-warmed up leftover wedges, scooping them into the dip and dangling over some of the pickled mango spaghetti before they disappeared forever. In about 20 seconds. He hadn’t eaten for about 6 hours, but I don’t think it was sheer starvation on his part. And no, I don’t intentionally starve my family so that they love my cooking. Really.
As for the awkward football analogy, it is my way of introducing them as a possible NFL Super Bowl XLIX snack. It will be on too late for all but the most die-hard UK fans (of which I am not), but it is easily made, and does reheat if you make them ahead. The dip and mango thingy will keep just fine for a day or two. I hope to post on healthy Super Bowl snacks very soon.
The Korean vibe is probably not unexpected from me but if you fancy otherwise, these sweet potato wedges would also be great with any chilli paste you fancy – such as this fabulous and smoky concoction from Gran Luchitos. I love this paste so much and would never hope to replicate it. And no one is paying me to say this.
P.S. I had this as my Jumpstart 2015 breakfast/lunch today. I am a bit under the weather (something I picked up on the plane), and haven’t really eaten in a few days, so this is helping to perk me up a bit. Basically it is a small frozen banana (I keep a stash of ‘on-the-turn’ ones in the freezer that might have previously been made into banana bread), some almond milk, best vanilla extract, 1 tbsp of chia seeds and a handful of frozen raspberries. Mindful of the two extra teenaged girls slumbering in the next room, I blended it for a mere 30 seconds in my Froothie Optimum 9400. Just what I needed to help me write this post!
Are you an American football fan? Who is your team? What will you be eating during the game? And, do you give foods human attributes? Or, is that just me!
Korean Sweet Potato Wedges with Pickled Mango Spaghetti and Avocado-Lime Dip
Change out the Korean pepper flakes for dried chipotle flakes or a mix of smoked and hot paprika if you like. Or use a bought chilli paste. I like Korean pepper flakes as they are flavoursome rather than hot.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 tbsp Korean pepper flakes (these are more fragrant than hot)
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil of choice
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey, maple syrup or yuzu honey tea (a kind of Japanese marmalade)
- 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
Pickle: 1 firm mango (peeled and stoned); 1 tbsp rice vinegar; pinch of salt
Dip: 3 tbsp coconut yogurt or Greek yogurt; 1/2 large, ripe avocado; 1 tbsp lime juice; handful rough chopped coriander leaves/cilantro – about 1/4 cup; pinch of salt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a tray with baking parchment or spray with oil spray.
1. Slice each sweet potato into wedges – I got 12 from each of my potatoes.
2. Mix together the pepper flakes, oil, honey and lime juice in a medium bowl. Toss the potatoes in the mixture, and take each wedge and pat onto any bare bits. Lay each wedge onto the lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, covering loosely with foil if they look to be burning.
3. Meanwhile, finely shred the mango into a bowl – I used my spiraliser – and toss the shreds with the vinegar and salt. Set aside.
4. Pop all of the dip ingredients into the bowl of small food processor or what I call a mini chopper, and blend until smooth, with flecks of green from the coriander. Scrape the dip into a bowl.
5. Serve the warm and mildly spiced sweet potato wedges with the pickled mango spaghetti and the avocado-lime dip. Lovely as an appetiser, snack, or as a side dish with grilled fish and salad/slaw.
Make A Meal Out Of It: Toss the cooked wedges, mango spaghetti, gently warmed smoked tofu, lightly wilted greens (such as baby spinach) and some toasted seeds together. Drizzle over the dip, perhaps thinned with a bit more lime or some water.
Over Do It. Healthily: Make double the amount of potatoes and add into the week’s meals – say, tacos, chilli or even omelettes. Roasted sweet potatoes are great to have as a quick healthy nibble if you get peckish between meals, too – fibre-rich and blessed with loads of antioxidants, especially beta-carotene and vitamin C.