What is Sweet Potato?
Sweet potatoes are not the sweet versions of potatoes. In fact, they are not even the same type of vegetables. Potatoes are tubers while sweet potatoes are root vegetables. Perhaps the only similarity they have is the fact that they both grow under the soil.
Sweet potatoes are also commonly mistaken for yams. Although they are both root vegetables, they belong to different plant families. Sweet potatoes are from the morning glory family while yams are from the lily family.
I grew up eating sweet potatoes. My mother absolutely loves it and in Southeast Asia, it’s a very popular street food. Perfectly steam or baked over hot coals, you can buy a whole sweet potato, that gets wrapped up in a newspaper, and eat them as is.
Mum would use the back of her thumbs to peel off the soft skin and pinch out a big portion for me to munch on.
I remember very clearly that it would be so hot, I couldn’t even hold it for long and in the scorching heat of Kuala Lumpur, it was like a double hit of heat!
I also remember giving my daughter her first taste of sweet potato puree when she was a baby. Did those eyes light up or what??
One of the great things about sweet potato is that it can be stored for such a long time. Store it in a dry, cool part of your kitchen or pantry and it will last for up to 2 weeks.
What Does Sweet Potato Taste Like?
Flavour: It would be safe to assume that sweet potatoes are sweet and they most certainly are. Its flavour resembles that of carrots although the levels of sweetness vary between the different varieties.
It also has nutty undertones and sometimes even a sugary sweetness that is out of this world!
Texture: Sweet potatoes are generally long root vegetables with tapered ends. Their skin is smooth and there are a ton of different types with colours ranging from white to yellow, to even reddish purple.
Even the colour of the flesh can vary and sometimes the skin does not reflect the colour of the flesh.
When cooked, the sweet potato transforms significantly. Soft enough to puree into a mash or it can be roasted which gives us a crunchy outer layer and a silky-smooth inner flesh. Some sweet potatoes can be a bit stringy too.
What Goes Well with Sweet Potato?
Fruit and Vegetables
Carrot, cauliflower, coconut, corn, endive, garlic, ginger, lime, orange, persimmon, pineapple, potato, rosemary, spinach.
Herbs, Nuts and Spices
Allspice, chestnut, cinnamon, clove, coriander, pecan, thyme, walnut.
Protein and Other
Chicken, chickpea, curry, duck, honey, pork, turkey, wild rice.
How to Use Sweet Potato in Salads?
One of the best things about sweet potato is that it can be used in sweet or savoury recipes.
I grew up eating a really traditional Malaysian dessert called Bubur Cha Cha which consists of sweet potato, coconut milk, sago and taro. I loved mine piping hot while others prefer to have it cold.
Sweet potatoes can be used in so many ways for salads. You can mash it so it forms the perfect base, you roast it either on its own or with some spices such as paprika and cumin or you can even fry it and serve them in a salad like sweet potato fries.
You can also cut them into thin slices and sauté it, you can steam them if you’re after a truly nutritious salad and you can most certainly caramalise it even further for dessert fruit salads.
Salad Recipes with Sweet Potato
Who can go past the goodness of caramelised onions in this Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad? This hearty salad recipe is so easy to make, perfect for mid-week dinners or weekend lunches.
Oven baked crispy kale with roasted sweet potato mingled together with a creamy hummus dressing, this is a satisfying vegan and gluten-free side dish that hits all the comforting notes.
Surely sweet potato and salty semi-cured Spanish sausage would be considered a pairing to die for! This Chorizo Salad is further completed by the freshness of baby spinach leaves and more natural sweetness from roasted red onions. No dressing needed. It speaks for itself!
More Ingredient Pairings
Here are more ingredient pairing ideas for your next salad creation!
- What Goes Well with Avocado
- What Goes Well with Carrot
- What Goes Well with Grapefruit
- What Goes Well with Kale
- What Goes Well with Hazelnut
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