WINTER SPECIAL: SWEET POTATO DELICACIES
Potato is one such inviting word upon hearing which most of us feel tempted to grab into but not to forget the carb into it as well. The need of the hour today is to somewhere modify a little and to twist and turn slightly towards a better outcome on our plates and also to tickle the palate with something interesting and worthy.
To me it has always been one of the topmost preferred ingredients in my kitchen which have assisted in many ways – from basic recipes to fillers in some dishes, to add texture and volume, to help thicken up gravies, etc as well.
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From a very young age we all have indulged in this simple and satisfying commodity from enjoying our all-time favourite French Fries, Finger Chips to our Desi hit Vada Pao, to the breakfast special hot and appetizing Aloo Parathas with a bowl of Curd and Papad.
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I know while reading this most of us are getting those cravings of going for a quick potato bite and relishing ourselves with something delectable and enjoying a quick filler in between those meals. But guess what, today we have an even more interesting ingredient to speak about and that’s Sweet Potato– also called Shakarkhandi in India.
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We do agree that not many of us have really tried too many varieties with sweet potatoes so far, while some of us have easily adapted to it but most of us need a few practical ideas and easy tips at times to make that shift from the regular to the not so regular cooking styles in our kitchens, hence this writeup for all you foodies, to create that bit of open-minded approach and shift from potato to sweet potato once in a while for a change and loads of healthy offerings too.
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Top 10 Health Benefits of Sweet Potato:
1. Sweet Potatoes help prevent Vitamin-A deficiency.
2. They have been considered fairly good to be eaten in moderation while managing diabetes.
3. Good for Managing stress, helps improve the shine and gloss on hair and our skin as well.
4. A great ingredient to be eaten for good eye care and vision, it is also one of the popular memory-enhancing foods.
5. Sweet potatoes have a good offering in terms of vitamins. Besides, it also gives us considerable amounts of iron and potassium.
6. It has also been believed that sweet potato consumption helps minimize sugar absorption.
7. A few studies also suggest that sweet potatoes help in issues related to arthritis too.
8. They are considered to be healthier alternatives to regular potatoes in many ways.
9. They offer much lesser calories as compared to having our regular potatoes, they are also considered anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory.
10. Sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, essential minerals.
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10 Ways on how to adapt to Sweet Potatoes in Cooking & Baking:
1. Sweet potatoes are a staple food of many parts of the world and they are slightly naturally sweet, starchy and a perfect treat to have in our recipes. Try adding them into your regular Tikkis, Cutlets, Koftas and Quick Bite Recipes from a Sesame Toast to the Hara Bhara Kababs and the like.
2. I enjoyed using sweet potatoes in soups with mixed vegetable options with carrots, celery, beans, peas, capsicums and even spinach. It kind of blends itself so well into soups and with its natural starch content it also offered a decent texture and mouthfeel to the soup variants. Try a sweet potato and pea soup, carrot–mint and sweet potato soup – serve it chilled like shots, Bottlegourd and sweet potato creamy textured soup a great one for a warm summer afternoon!
3. Indian gravies and curries too accept the indigenous composition of sweet potatoes and they naturally add a creamy texture to many variations by which the content of cashew paste, fresh cream, charmagaz also can be reduced considerably along with calories as well.
4. Sweet Potato Fries can do it baked as well; a light dusting of sea salt, some fresh herbs, a drizzle of coconut oil or even olive oil works fine, add a little roasted crushed cumin powder for an added taste, not to forget a splash of lime juice and coriander leaves to garnish. They are also considered to be a great choice for fasting foods in the Indian sub-continent since they help us manage the hunger pangs.
5. Sweet Potato Frankie, a popular fast food concept can be re-devised into a health wrap and roll concept. Use chapattis made with a combination of flours like soy with whole-wheat, millets, and oatmeal with multi-grain flour with a touch of kasuri methi in the dough, roll them cook them both sides, apply a little sauce or spread of your choice. I liked peanut butter here with some shredded cabbage, a nice patty of boiled mashed mildly spiced sweet potato with carrots and peas, shredded onions, chaat masala and wrap-ready to go!
6. Talking about continental variations, a sweet potato mash with crushed pepper, a dash of mixed herbs, a little milk to add to the texture is just great to go with the main course. A nice stir fry recipe with sweet potato fingers along with carrot sticks, snow peas, red and yellow capsicums with a little stir fry sauce is a good choice to offer for a side dish. Asian style stir-fried sweet potatoes with star anise and soy sauce goes well too as a Chinese side dish, crispy wafers/chips made from sweet potato help garnish salads and dips as well. Try using it as a base as well to replace bread for a pizza concept or mini canapes. Sweet potato starch is also available easily to use for binding in our recipes, replace Maida, cornflour, and bread.
7. Baked Sweet Potato Cups, stuffed with some cooked soy keema, the pulp itself along with some roasted crushed peanuts, some white sauce and parsley, a pinch of allspice powder, top it with a little cheese, quickly brown it, serve hot with garlic bread.
8. Try doing a Casserole concept with Sweet Potatoes, Chicken or Meat of your choice, or just some fresh garden veggies like zucchini, broccoli, baby carrots, red capsicums, mushrooms, etc and cook them in a mild gravy or tomato sauce and serve it with brown rice.
9. Sweet Potato Samosas, Baked Kachories, Parathas, Kulchas, fillings for Sandwiches and Dosas, Dips and Spreads for Sandwiches works wonders. Try a sandwich spread with boiled mashed sweet potato with a little salt, pepper chopped parsley, peanut butter, and little tomato ketchup, mix well apply on bread and place your fillings and relish!
1O. Baked Sweet Potato Pies, Fillings for Veg Puffs, add them boiled and mashed into a Bread dough as well with a little Pumpkin seeds or Sunflower seeds, add them to a Brownie mix as well to add to the goey texture upon baking. A vegan sweet potato pie or pudding also is a good option. For some Indian twist, I used sweet potatoes in a Halwa, Sheera, Shahi Tukda, double ka meetha, barfi, and in stuffed Sweet Potato Gulab Jamuns as well with Chocolate Gulkhand Rabdi.
Here are a few recipes with sweet potato for all our readers to try out:
Recipe-1] Shakarkhandi Ka Desi Salad
Recipe-2] Pan Baked Spiced Soy & Sweet Potatoes
Recipe-3] TADKEWALA SWEET POTATO MASH
Recipe-4] HARA BHARA SWEET POTATO CUPS
Recipe- 5] KABULI CHANA AND SWEET POTATO CURRY
Recipe- 6] MASALEDAAR SHAKARKHANDI KE PARATHE
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About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.
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