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Dec 13, 2007 12:32 PM

A very basic sweet potato question

All the recipes I find for them involve roasting or baking, but is it okay to just boil the suckers? I have a hazy memory of making a savory mashed sweet potatoes with shallots, but I don't remember the oven being involved. Would peeling and boiling be bad for the texture or taste? Or should I bake them in the skins, scoop out the flesh, and then add the shallots etc.

Very grateful for any guidance!

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  1. Boiling is fine. I'd leave the skins on until after boiling.

    1. I don't see why not. I mean, we make mashed regular potatoes this way. I have actually seen instructions for boiling sweet potatoes, but for me, I like to roast, b/c it seems to bring out the sugars via carmelization.

      You can even microwave them, I think, and my mom used to do that, actually for a sweet potato mochi dish she used to make.

      5 Replies
      1. re: anzu

        mmm.. I love mochi! Can you describe the dish or provide a recipe? I'm always looking for new ideas...

        1. re: Reene902

          Let me talk to my mom (she's in Japan) and see if I can get a recipe out of her. They're kind of like the Chinese Nian Gao (new years cake) consistency-wise. I think she microwaved or steamed sweet potatoes, then mixed it in with sweet rice flour, water, sugar in some ratio-- that is what I need to get from her.

          1. re: Reene902

            My apologies for taking forever to get back to you. My mom finally sent me a "recipe" 2 days ago, but it is full of holes. I haven't had time to experiment to figure out the exact measurements and was going to wait till I did that, but then that might not be for a few more months, so I'm going to post the "recipe", incomplete instructions and all, on this board, lest I forget. Also, instead of fresh sweet potatoes, it looks like she used a can of mashed yams.

            1 can (doesn't specify, but I'm assuming one of those 14 oz cans) sweet potato or yam puree. I think you can substitute equivalent fresh mashed sweet potato for this.

            sticky rice flour (mochiko)- half a 1 pound box
            some sugar to taste
            soy powder (kinako; if you can't find this yellowish powder, I'd just dust it with corn starch or something to prevent sticking)

            1. mash yams (if they are not already mashed)
            2. stir in the mochiko and sugar to taste
            3. either steam in a pot for 1 hour or microwave for 20 minutes. If microwaving, after 10 minutes, remove, stir, and resume microwaving.
            (note: this recipe is back from the days before microwaves had fancy controls. We just had a timer on ours, so we set it to 10 minutes. I don't know what settings you'd use on a modern microwave.)

            4. While hot, spread out on kinako (or corn-starch)-dusted flat container. You want to spread it out so that it is 2 cm thick.

            5. Let cool, and then cut into pieces.

            Now let me warn you that it has been decades since we've made this, so I don't remember the final consistency. I just remember liking it, and am interested in retinkering with it, but I haven't made it. So apologies in advance if this turns out to be something weird.

            1. re: anzu

              Thanks! I'm going to have to experiment this weekend. I'll report back with what happens

              1. re: anzu

                Ok, so I just tried making this tonight. I had an extra roasted sweet potato, so I mashed that instead of canned yams. I figured I had about 1/2 a can of puree's worth, so I mixed it with 1/4 of a box of mochiko and microwaved it for 7 minutes. First of all, my original instructions to microwave for 20 minutes is waaaaaaaaaaaay too long. In fact, after 7 minutes, only 1/3 of it is of moch-like consistency. Although I added water, I think I probably should've added more water. We last made this when microwaves had just one nob to indicate length of time, so it was a long, long time ago. Anyway, as I experiment with this some more, I will report back, but sorry about posting a non-working recipe!

          2. Thanks guys--I'll find out tonight!

            1. I prefer to peel, cut them into chunks of about equal size, and then steam. Steaming is supposed to get them tender without adding much water. A pressure cooker also works, especially for mashing, where it doesn't hurt if they get too soft.


              1. Boiling or steaming is fine for sweet potatoes. However, I have had a lot of luck with the CI method which uses almost no liquid (only 1/4 cup of cream.) If memory serves you cook the potatoes (cut to 3/4" cubes) over a very low fire with the cream. The natural high moisture content of the potatoes is enough to keep them from scorching. You need to stir them up a bit every now and then and they will take close to 45 mins to become nice and tender. Mash them with some butter and S&P and it's like eating candy. You taste the pure, natural sweetness of the potato which hasn't been diluted with water from boiling or steaming.

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