Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have been alternately the bane of my existence and a wonderful windfall. I bought a sweet potato plant and, paying no heed to the saleswoman in the nursery who said, ‘they take over everything’, I put it in the ground. Two years later I had a garden covered in sweet potato, coming up everywhere I didn’t want it and smothering everything I did want. I seemed to spend my life pulling out masses of runners. The worst part of it was that when I actually tried to harvest them, I got either enormous woody tubers or barely thickened roots – nothing sweet potato sized or tender and delicious. 

Until this year. I dumped a mountain of pulled out runners into one of the water-tank beds, knowing they’d take it over but figuring I’d deal with it later. Several months on, after the lush leafy growth had started to die back, I decided to see what was in the bed. I ripped out all the runners and put them in the green bin (lesson finally learned), and with what a delight I was met – perfect sized sweet potatoes and quite an abundance of them.

In the self sufficient garden, sweet potatoes are a bit of a wonder veg, as country people and farmers have known for decades. For virtually no work involved in growing them, you can harvest a large amount of calorie dense and delicious food in a matter of months. (To demonstrate the ‘no work’ claim, the children next door spent a couple of happy hours digging a bucket full of sweet potatoes out of their lawn, from the runners that had escaped through the fence).

I harvested a few and thought I’d better make something of them quick. As there were many, I decided to make soup that I could freeze and opted for Thai sweet potato soup. I looked up a recipe but didn’t have all the ingredients for it so just used what I had to hand at the time, including some home-grown chilies, lemongrass and limes (more harvesting joy!)

Not Quite Thai Sweet Potato Soup

  • Sweet potatoes – about four or five medium/large
  • 2 x Onions
  • 4 x fresh Jalapeno – seeds removed and chopped
  • 4 x dried Purple Maui – sliced
  • 2 x Lemongrass stalks cleaned and chopped fine
  • 1 x Massel Chicken Style stock cube and a very generous covering of water (I could have put more water in, it turned out very thick)
  • Juice of 2 x Limes, or to taste
  • 1 heaped tbsp ground Coriander
  • 2 x 330ml cans Coconut cream
  • Very large stock pan
  1. Peel and chop sweet potato into large dice
  2. Chop and fry 1 and ½ onions until translucent or just browning
  3. Add sweet potatoes and lemongrass, saute
  4. Add chillies, saute
  5. Add ground coriander and the rest of the onion and stir
  6. Add stock, and leave to simmer on medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes
  7. When potatoes are cooked (just soft), cool, blend and return to pan (you will need a spare pan for this as it is a large quantity  – I blended 4 batches)
  8. Once back in the pan, add the coconut cream and lime juice
  9. Check for salt and add if needed
  10. Serve with pepper and fresh coriander

Surprisingly yummy!

2 thoughts on “Sweet Potatoes

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