GF, DF, Vegan
Potatoes (common white potato) vs sweet potatoes? What is the deal here? They’re both called potatoes. They both originated in Central and South America. They have both since spread throughout the world. Yet, botanically, potatoes and sweet potatoes are completely unrelated. (The sweet potato is further not be confused with the yams, which belong to Dioscoreaceae family).
Potatoes being to the Solanaceae family and are related to tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant along with other nightshades. Plants in this family produce solanine, which is poisonous. As result, one can’t eat the leaves or stems of any plant in this group (or potatoes that have gone green for that matter).
Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are in the Convolvulaceae family with flowering morning glory vines. Unlike potatoes, you can also eat the leaves of sweet potatoes, which are very nutritious. Sweet potatoes, despite their name and sweet taste, have a much lower glycemic index than white potatoes (45 compared to 75-100) and are richer in antioxidants than common potatoes.
These jewel-coloured tubers are high in vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and, due to their orange colour, are high in carotenoids. Sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of vitamin A – an antioxidant powerhouse, linked to anti-aging benefits, cancer prevention and the maintenance of good eyesight – with a large one containing more than 100% of the daily recommended intake.
Although the orange variety is the most common, sweet potatoes also come in white, yellow, pink and purple varieties. The deeper the colour of flesh, the greater the antioxidant level of sweet potato. steaming, roasting or baking the sweet potato can also double their antioxidant level (boiling will obviously reduce it). And with the skin being more nutritious than the flesh, eating them whole is highly recommended.
Being such a great source of nutrition and vitamins, sweet potatoes are also one of the ultimate comfort foods – the label, sadly, too frequently affixed to rich and heavy concoctions. Sweet potato fries are a complete opposite of this – satisfying yet good for you creamy melt in your mouth morsels that leave you feeling fulfilled. And the dairy-free cashew dipping sauce that I serve them with makes them even more moorish.
Sweet potato fried with spicy cashew dipping sauce
Sweet potatoes (1 medium-sized per person)
optional: smoked paprika & cinnamon powder
Wash & scrub the sweet potatoes, do not peel. Slice them into fat matchsticks. Rub with olive oil and salt. You can also sprinkle them with smoked paprika and cinnamon if you’d like. Spread them out on a roasting tray lines with foil and roast in the preheated oven (180 degreed C) for around 25 mins or until they are nicely coloured on the outside. I would recommend flipping them after about 20 mins to achieve more even colour.
a handful of cashew nuts (soaked if you have time, and drained)
juice of 1 lime
a few tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
a teaspoon of your favourite chilli sauce* (adjust the quantity depending on how hot your sauce is and how spicy you want the dipping sauce to be)
1/3 cup of water (you can add more to reach the desired consistency)
Blend all the ingredients together until creamy. Serve with hot from the oven sweet potato fries. (Leftover sauce will keep in the fridge for up to a week)
* I make my own chilli sauce that keeps in the fridge for a month or so. Soak dry chipotle or ancho chilis in hot water, drain, remove the stems and blend with apple cider vinegar, dried oregano, garlic and salt.