Monday, November 12, 2012

Sweet Potato Cakes

One of the things that bothers me SO MUCH is when people use "sweet potato" and "yam" interchangeably. My senior year of college, I took a Food Science course, just for fun, and one of our projects was to come up with a "healthier" ice cream flavor. My group decided on sweet potatoes because they are rich in fiber, complex carbs, vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, and iron - it's basically one of the most nutritious vegetables. However, the day we all met in the lab to actually make the ice cream, I saw that our supervisory lab tech had brought us a huge tub of canned YAMS. Yams are delicious but they aren't v. nutritious (they have a good potassium and vitamin K content but not much else), though, to be fair, their carb content is much lower, if you're on a low-glycemic-index or low-carb diet. Yams also have a higher sugar content, and therefore are much sweeter. Anyway, I was pretty peeved because our nutritious ice cream idea wasn't being executed properly. On a side note, our flavor won the class taste test.

Anyway, onto the back story of this recipe: as a kid, my mom would make fried sweet potatoes, almost like tempura but not as heavily breaded, and give them to my sister and me to eat with kimchi and/or to dip into soy sauce and it was just so good. And it was awesome because she didn't mind if we ate a million of them because she knew they were good for us.

Korean people typically use the yellow-variety sweet potatoes which have a purplish-reddish skin with a pale yellow, almost white flesh. The taste is a bit more subtle but just as sweet. However, my local market rarely has the yellow variety; they are always stocked with the orange kind, which are just as yummy. And this recipe uses the orange ones, for just that reason.

Ingredients:
1 cup grated or shredded sweet potatoes (about 1/2 lb)
1/3 cup grated or shredded sweet potatoes (about 1 small potato)
1/4 cup grated sweet onion (about 1/2 medium size onion)
1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
oil for frying (canola, vegetable, or peanut oil, something neutral)
Peel the vegetables.

Then, using a mandolin (which is what I used) or a grater (manual or the one on your food processor), shred up the sweet potato, yukon gold potato, and onion.
Then, mix up the batter. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cold water. Stir to combine but don't over mix the batter.
Once the batter is mixed, add it to the shredded vegetables and stir to coat.
Heat up a skillet with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon a bit of the vegetable-batter mixture into the pan - the amount you use will depend on how big you want your cakes to be. I used about 2 tablespoons per cake and ended up with 2" rounds. Let the cake cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes until the edges get golden and crispy. Let the cakes drain on a paper towel, which will absorb the excess oil.
Serve warm with either soy sauce for dipping or kimchi... but plain is delicious too.
Here's the recipe page:

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