Mahalo Latke

In food on 05/01/2011 at 7:59 pm

Dr. Mud came over bearing parental gifts of real Taiwanese and Chinese tea leaves, and several tubers which turned out to be organic Okinawan purple sweet potatoes specially air-mailed from President Obama’s home state of Hawai’i.

Though we oohed and aahhed over the tea, it was only when the other half declared that it would be acceptable for both of us to eat the sweet potatoes that I began scheming of how we would properly consume the precious lil’ spuds. Since it is currently her favorite thing, I wanted to make Dr. Mud’s mother proud.

I wasn’t sure if they were going to be too sweet since I was told they were yams. I immediately thought of the sickly saccharine dish at Thanksgiving with the tiny marshmallows. But after I ate them, I found out from that yams and sweet potatoes were from totally unrelated species, and that sweet potatoes have much less moisture and sugar content; they are also tapered on both ends.

Coincidentally, remembering the gag reflex triggered when the other half thinks of eating potatoes, our nutritionist friend recently told us she read an article that describes a particular enzyme in some people’s mouths that makes them extremely sensitive to starch. Somebody around here feels very validated. This makes these unsweet potatoes perfect for someone with a finicky enzyme-plagued tongue.

I had a hankering for latkes. I figured in order to make them very crisp I would squeeze out all the excess liquid and thereby minimize the starch factor. That would suit both of us well. The only problem was, we didn’t have a grater, and we couldn’t find the grating attachment to the food processor.

I spent the next hour using the vegetable peeler to slice strips of the tubers and then hand-chopping to grater-sized pieces. The raw sweet potato has the consistency more akin to an apple than a common potato, crisp as opposed to yielding. I tried to drain water out, but it was no more than a couple of raindrops worth after four hours.

Given last week’s culmination of the birther controversy, what better item to pair the island vegetable with than my infamous Obama ‘Yes We Can’ meatballs which were named for Mister Hawai’i himself? I’ve since done many many iterations of this meatball because every time I ask the other half what’s for dinner, the answer will invariably be: MEATBALL!

Lately I’ve also been making yogurt sauces. I usually use single-serving Fage full-fat yogurt that we get with the jam on the side. I thin it with fresh lime juice. To flavor it, add grated garlic, dill or other herbs, salt and pepper. For a bread dip, sometimes I use honey too.

3 small sweet potatoes
1 small red onion
1/4 cup Panko crumbs
2 eggs
salt & pepper

1. Grate sweet potatoes and chop onion.

2. Add Panko crumbs. Add 1 or 2 eggs depending on how dry the mixture is.

3. Add more or less Panko crumbs so that the mixture will stay clumped in the pan. Add seasonings.

4. Fry in oil in a pan on low heat in a thin circular layer, using a fork to spread out the circle. The thinner you make them, the crisper they get. Brown both sides.

  1. Will you make me this dinner? Thank you.

    I want to try both of these recipes, yum.

  2. of course!

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