Savvy sweet potato

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This in-season vegetable is a nutritious accompaniment to your winter favourites

Did you know the sweet potato is not really a potato at all? It is a tuberous root vegetable like the taro and yam, and as such, is full of energy and warmth. Very nutritious, it is a good source of folate and vitamins A, C and E. It is also full of fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion. There are significant antioxidant capacities found in this root vegetable, as well as blood sugar regulatory properties. Additionally, it has a low glycemic loading.

Although the sweet potato is available all-year round in Australia, its best-value months are May to August, so make the most of this vegetable now. (Pick from orange, white or purple coloured varieties).

Full of taste that lends itself easily to both sweet and savoury dishes, the sweet potato is highly versatile indeed. Below are sweet potato preparations for entrée, main course, accompaniment and dessert.


Sweet Potato Parcels

450 gms sweet potatoes, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp grated ginger

2 tsp curry powder (or equivalent masalas of choice)

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp ground cardamom

½ small onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp plain flour

½ cup milk

1 tbsp oil

75 gms butter

1 tbsp sunflower kernels (optional)

6 sheets filo pastry

Melted butter

2 tbsp sesame seeds


Heat oil in a pan and add half the butter. Add cumin seeds, ginger and garlic, curry powder, garam masala and ground cardamom. Stir briefly, then add sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring, till sweet potatoes are well-coated with the masalas. Then transfer to a hot oven, and cook, uncovered, at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes or till sweet potato is soft.

Heat remaining butter in a pan and cook onions till soft. Add flour, then milk gradually, and stir till it all boils and thickens.

Mix together the sweet potato, onion mixture and sunflower kernels in a bowl. The filling is ready.

Lay out pastry sheets and cut each in half. Brush with butter, place filling on one end and roll up firmly.

Brush tops with more butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place on greased oven tray and cook in a 180-degree oven for about 25 minutes.


Sweet Potato Curry

250 gms sweet potatoes

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Green chillies to taste, finely chopped

2 numbers dried red chillies

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ coconut, grated

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 sprig curry leaves

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander leaves for garnish.


Grind to a fine paste coconut, red chillies, garlic, cumin and coriander seeds.

Heat oil, add curry leaves and cook onions and green chillies till soft. Add tomatoes, turmeric and salt; cook till paste-like. Introduce peeled and sliced sweet potatoes and ground paste, and cook for a further five minutes. Add two cups (or enough) water and cook till sweet potato is soft.

Serve hot, garnished with fresh coriander, with rice or chappatis.


Sweet Potato Chutney

250 gms sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 green mango, grated

2 or 3 red chillies, dry roasted

1 red chilli extra

1 tsp urad dal

¼ tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp mustard seeds

Salt to taste

1 tsp oil

1 sprig curry leaves


Parboil sweet potatoes until tender.

Process together sweet potato, mangoes and roasted red chillies.

Heat oil in a pan and add curry leaves, dry red chilli, cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds begin to pop, pour over sweet potato-mango mixture.

Serve cold, as an accompaniment in an Indian meal.


Sweet Potato Pie

(This recipe comes from The Popular Potato by Valwyn McMonigal, 1992)

For pastry

2 cups plain flour

1 tbsp custard powder

1 tbsp icing sugar

175 gms butter

1-2 tbsp water

1 tsp lemon juice


For filling

500 gms sweet potato, cooked and mashed

1 cup milk

2 eggs beaten

½ cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp melted butter


To make pastry, sift flour, custard powder and icing sugar in a bowl. Mix in butter till mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Use water and lemon juice to make a firm dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out to the shape of the pie dish to be used. Grease pie dish, carefully lift the pastry into it and refrigerate until required.

To make filling, combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. Spoon into pie shell. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until set.

Serve with ice cream.

(Add cooked apples to sweet potato for a tasty variation).









Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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