Let’s start 2017 with a healthy recipe for a trending item: toast made from sweet potatoes. Replacing bread with sweet potatoes fits into a gluten free diet and is great for diabetics and everybody who wants to lose a few pounds after the holidays.
The giant, two kilogram sweet potato
I was asked to write about sweet potatoes. During my research I discovered this trending recipe and bookmarked it in my memory for my newsletter. The other day I discovered giant sweet potatoes in the supermarket. One of them was two kilograms heavy. I carried them home and set out to work.
There are many kinds of sweet potatoes. In Goa we find mostly the reddish ones with light yellow flesh. They oxidize immediately when they hit the air and turn a rather unappealing darkish-greenish tone.
Warning: Sweet potato is difficult to work with although it delivers a healthy base for a kind of Ersatz-sandwich.
I knew this, so I had a big bowl with water ready to avoid oxidation of peeled slices. When I started to cut the skin of, I met with heavy resistance. It required all my gym-trained muscle to get rid of the dirty skin. Now I know why many cooks use sweet potatoes with the skin.
Slicing the massive root
The second difficulty was slicing the colossal sweet potatoe. I tried with my biggest kitchen knife from Solingen and failed miserably. So I took my sharpest, Swiss made kitchen knife and sliced all around the sweet potato to have a guiding line. That delivered chunky slices.
Mandoline? Chips-like thingy as toast?
Some cooks recommend using a mandoline. But this leads to tiny slices – I do not consider a chips-like thingy to be an adequate replacement for toast. Other chefs praise how easy it is to prepare sweet potatoe toast in a toaster. I consider this an urban myth.
Workout for my arm muscles
It took me half an hour to slice my giant. Once again I was astonished how quickly the sweet potato changes colour. I decided to blanch them to preserve their colour before baking them in the oven. This worked well. The slices left the salt water with a golden yellow colour. However, during baking they turned into their usual darkish-greenish tone. I might as well have saved the effort of blanching them – it reduced the baking time though. Next time I will try to deep-fry them in ghee, clarified butter.
The taste was a revelation though. “Highly addictive” was the comment of my 17 year old son who does not praise culinary achievements lightly.
Wishing you all the best for 2017 and happy cooking, always!
Sweet Potato Toast
Toppings of your choice
Keep a bowl of water handy. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes.
Keep the slices in water to avoid oxidation.
Bring plenty of water to boil in a big pot. Add salt and blanche the sweet potato slices for three to five minutes.
Take the slices out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place them onto a cookie tray. I covered mine with a silicon sheet to avoid sticking. You can also spread some coconut oil over the sheet.
I used homemade coconut oil and a kitchen brush to cover the sweet potato slices.
I brushed the slices on both sides with coconut oil to ensure crispiness. Then I baked them for half an hour at around 210 degrees Celsius. After half of the baking time I turned them. You want to see brown-golden marks on the surface.
Remember: The baking time depends on your oven.
For the picture I chose three different toppings: Cream cheese with slices kiwi, tandoori hummus with stripes of red bell pepper and homemade chocolate-peanutbutter cream with slices of banana, sprinkled with cinnamon.
Our favourite: Chocolate-peanutbutter cream with banana. For the cream melt dark chocolate with peanutbutter and some milk. Don’t ask me for amounts please. Just wing it. I also liked the cream cheese with kiwi. The slightly sour, fresh taste of kiwi provides a nice contrast to the sweetness of the potato.
Big plus of sweet potatoes: Low glycemic index
Sweet potatoes are among the oldest vegetables known to humans. Remains of sweet potatoes were discovered in 10.000 year Peruvian old graves. Christopher Columbus brought the sweet potato to Europe and helped it spread all over the world. Historians call this period the Columbian exchange because it revolutionised many cuisines.
Fibre and complex carbohydrates
Like the normal potato, the sweet potato provides a lot of nutrients with a low calorie content of 86 per 100 gram, most of them from complex carbohydrates in combination with plenty of fibre. This leads to a low glycemic index that is about half of a normal potato.
The glycemic index – does baking rise it?
The glycemic index indicates, how quickly the body absorbs the carbohydrates from the food and therefore indicates the effect of food on blood sugar levels. The lower the number, the more time the body needs for digestion. That’s why sweet potato is a great vegetable for people with type 2 diabetes.
However, experts say that baking dramatically rises the glycemic index of sweet potatoes and makes them as easily digestible as normal potatoes. They recommend boiling or steaming to keep the glycemic index low.
Honestly: I have watched my body numerous times after eating a lot of sugar and starches. The sweet potato toast – although baked – did not leave me with a sugar low after a little while. I am not sure the experts got this right.
Whatever: sweet potatoes are definitely healthfood
Anyway, sweet potatoes are very healthy. They contain an enormous amount of Vitamin A and plenty of Vitamin B6 and some Vitamin C. Plenty of magnesium, iron and calcium as well as a wealth of anti-oxidants make sweet potatoes a vegetable that fits into any diet.