Week 3 of 6 months of cooking with Ottolenghi & this week it is roots. Perfect for these cooler, shorter evenings. I am loving it, it has somehow reinvigorated me a little. Made me really, really enjoy cooking again & sharing it here on Toast without it feeling remotely like a chore. It is again a pleasure & a joy. And that is what I love about Ottolenghi, always inspiring. I have yet to cook something from any of his books that has not delighted. There is something wonderful & exciting the first time you try some sort of new flavour combination or a new way to cook a few simple ingredients & turn them in to something so much more than the some of their parts.
That would be where these sweet potato cakes come in, essentially sweet potato, flour, soy, spring onion & chilli with a dollop of yoghurt on the side. It doesn’t sound like much but when they all come together in crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, a fresh bite from the spring onions & little heat from the chilli all cooled by fresh, tart lemon spiked yoghurt they really are quite something. It likely also has to do with the “lots of butter” they are fried in! Butter does after all make just about everything better.
Sweet Potato Cakes adapted just a tad from Ottolenghi’s Plenty - IHCC
For the sweet potato cakes...
1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks or if you are in NZ your kumara of choice*
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
3 tbsp spring onion, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped (seeded if you are not a fan of heat)
**1 egg if needed
Lots of butter, for frying
*I used golden kumara, hence the more gold than orange hue
**My mixture was a little dry, it may be our Kiwi kumara have a little less moisture than some other sweet potatoes so I threw in an egg.
For the sauce...
50g Greek yogurt
50g sour cream
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
Steam the sweet potato or kumara until soft & then drain in a colander for an hour. To make the sauce whisk all the ingredients together until smooth & set aside in the fridge. Place all the fritter ingredients, except the egg & the butter, in a mixing bowl & work them together with your hands. The mixture should be a little sticky. If too runny add a little more flour or if its too dry add an egg. Don’t over mix the fritters.
To make the fritters dip your hands in water & take a tablespoon of the mixture & shape it in to a little ball. Flatten the ball to circle less than a centimetre thick. Place the fritter on some baking paper.
Melt some butter in a large frying pan & using a fish slice, lift the cakes in to the pan & fry on a moderate heat until the cakes have a nice, brown crust. 3 minutes or so each side should do it. Place on kitchen roll to remove excess butter & serve hot or warm, with a good dollop of the yoghurt sauce on the side.
These are most definitely comfort food. Hot, crunchy, fried, soft inside, a little spicy & I think best eaten straight out the frying pan with ones fingers. Or if you feel like being a little more civilised & substantial I am thinking brunch topped with a lightly poached egg & a little crispy bacon...roll on next weekend.
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