Sweet potato

Comforting, vibrant and versatile, you can’t go wrong with sweet potatoes. Their rich, creamy sweetness works beautifully with fresh, zingy flavours – try garlic, lime, herbs or ginger. No need to peel these organic beauties for roasting; the skins are fine to eat and full of goodness.

Storage & prep

Will keep for several weeks

Storage: With their rich sweet flesh they are a vibrant and versatile replacement for potatoes or squash in scores of dishes. They are freighted with plenty of vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. They will store well on a cool vegetable rack away from direct sunlight and should keep well for a few weeks.

Prep: Treat in much the same way as you would a potato. The skins are perfectly edible when baked or roasted, so at the very least they only need a wash and scrub before using. For most other purposes they are easily peeled.

Cooking tips

They can be baked whole and look almost purpose-made for cutting into long tapered wedges for roasting. Peeled and chopped they can be boiled or steamed for mash or added to soups and stews. They’ll cook a little faster than a conventional spud and carry strong Caribbean, Indian and Asian flavours well. Their inherent sweetness means that they can be folded into any number of cakes, biscuits and muffins, much as you would with carrots or squash.

Cooking ideas

Nice with spice: From the lime-chilli-salt zing of Jamaica and the Southern States to the hearty spice of the Indian sub-continent; via the fragrant, smoky stew pots of North Africa and the Middle East. An ideal vehicle for your spice rack.

Like a potato: Bake in its jacket and serve with a spicy chilli & soured cream. Slice pound-coin-thick and bake as a gratin with lots of garlic, cream and rosemary. Cleave into wedges and roast with plenty of salt, pepper and herbs. Even makes a smooth velvety mash to go with your bangers. They will cook faster and taste sweeter.

Like a squash: An obvious proxy given the sweetness and colour. Can be diced and added into all sorts of curries or stews that would usually accommodate a squash. Makes for a delicious silken soup especially with coconut, chilli and lime to help things along. They can also work in that peculiarly American tradition of turning pumpkin into pud, their inherent sweetness means they can be folded into any number of cakes, biscuits and muffins.

Sweet potato recipe

Sweet potato & peanut stew

Although this recipe is African in its roots, it seems to take flavours from every step of the spice route. There is the earthy Indian warmth from the cumin, a whiff of the Middle East from the cinnamon, all finished with a peanut flavour suggestive of a Malaysian satay. I've used red rice here as it has an interesting nutty flavour and chew to it. It also doesn't take much longer to cook than plain white rice.

Serves 2 - 45 min

Flavour Friends

Sweet potato works well with:

Chilli

Indian & Asian spicing – chilli, lemongrass, ginger

Lemons & limes

Coconut

Tamari or soy sauce

Fragrant spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and cumin

Soured cream or yoghurt

Rosemary, thyme or sage

Sesame seeds

Walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans

Feta & goat’s cheese

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