Sweet potatoes- what are they really?
Many people like me think that sweet potatoes are just regular potatoes that are orange, purple or pale muddy yellow, but they are in fact a completely different vegetable. Compared to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes have much more vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C and even more fiber.
In Karachi the variety of sweet potatoes that I get have a dark muddy brown skin with a pale muddy yellow flesh inside. Not really beautiful to look at but for me those were the real sweet potatoes or “Shukrkandi” as called in Urdu.
When in the grocery store I saw purple coloured or orange coloured sweet potatoes I was very hesitant to try them. Telling myself that they were not the real thing. I still looked for the muddy brown sweet potatoes.
Then one fine day as I was shopping for a new recipe and the only ones available were the orange coloured, I had to buy them. I am so glad that I did – they were exceptionally sweet. I loved the colour. It reminded me of the autumn season. Every time I saw them in the grocery shop I would stop and admire the colour. Just like the leaves on the trees in the fall season.
High in fiber sweet potatoes are excellent for digestion. Sweet potatoes are composed mainly of starch, which is very easy to break down and is soothing for the stomach and intestines too. This makes them an ideal healing choice for those suffering from the pain and inflammation associated with stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. The roughage of sweet potatoes even prevents constipation.
Healthy Digestion with the Sweetest of Potatoes. Though lovely on their own especially when baked as chips with some cumin and paprika, sweet potatoes make an exceptionally good Hummus.
Sweet Potato Hummus
2 cups chickpeas
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
3 small sweet potatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp mince garlic
3 tbsp Tahini
1. Bake the sweet potatoes (with the skin on) in a baking dish in a 400 F oven and until very soft, may take about 45 minutes to 1 hour. (You may also steam them, but in my experience baking makes them more flavourful.)
2. Let the sweet potatoes cool down completely, and then remove the skin. Place them in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend on high for 2-3 mins. If mixture feels thick dilute with a tablespoon of yoghurt. Taste for salt, spice and lemon.
3. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle of red chilly flakes. This is wonderful with raw veggies, healthy crackers, or pita bread.
This dip doubles as an amazing sandwich spread, particularly on crusty bread. It will keep in the fridge for a week, but mine barely lasted a day. Happy hummus-ing.
Note: There is no need to follow the recipe to “T” on the quantities of ingredients – it’s hard to make a mistake! Use more or less sweet potato than called for, more or less chickpeas, omit the cayenne or throw in more if you like it spicy or substitute for red chilly flakes. Just work with what you have and what tastes good to you.