Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sweet potatoes - double disaster

Well, it's official - I'm going to stay well away from sweet potatoes from now. I cant say as I liked them excessively at any point, but I'm pretty sure that I wont be cooking THAT particular vegetable at home in a hurry.

First I thought I'd try making sweet potato crisps in the oven. Bad idea. The slices went soggy and soft, never quite making the transition to a crisp texture - and those few slices which escaped that fate merely went on to suffer another, ending up pretty much inedibly browned. *sigh* I guess I was lulled into a slight complacence by the success of the previous oven-crisp efforts with cassava and yam.

Anyway, I still had about 4 medium sweet potatoes left after the crisp disaster. So I decided to make halwa with them. I decided not to bother with looking up any recipe for sweet potato halwa - bad call, once again. I grated them, put them into a large quantity of milk and boiled the whole thing with 1/2 cup sugar till it reduced down to a pale orange mush. It was NOT appetising to look at ("pre-digested" comes to mind; so does "regurgitated"), so I tried to rescue the sad excuse for halwa by adding some condensed milk. Still no good.


Then I tried garnishing it with toasted flaked almonds and golden sultanas. Worse effect still, whether to look at or to eat (I tried a somewhat squeamish spoonful, so I know.)

The texture of the cooked grated sweet potatoes was soft and squidgy - like baby food, perhaps, and over-sweet (maybe the condensed milk was a bad idea). It was probably my own damn fault for cooking the sweet potatoes for so long - and it probably took that long to reduce down because there was probably way too much milk in the first place... in any case, I'm afraid my halwa experiment ended in the bin. Nothing to salvage there.

Oh well, nobody ever said that every cooking attempt would turn out perfect.

I'm in two minds whether or not to post pictures of my disastrous attempts with sweet potatoes... should I, shouldnt I? Jury's still out.

9 comments:

bilbo said...

the most awesome sweetpotato preparation , I've had is at this prof's house whose family is traditionally runs a halwai shop. oh man. too good. parboiled sweetpotatoes cut into qhalf centimetre discs, grilled or oven baked. served with a sprinklle of chat masala and lemom juice. Ive tried it once and twas heaven. Try it if u like tangy with that hint of sweetness

Anonymous said...

Oh please, please, please post the pics! Atleast we'll all know how it shouldn't turn out.

shammi said...

Bilbo... gotta admit that sounds lovely. I like chaat-type tangy flavours.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

That actually sounds good to me, with the condensed milk. I'd like to see a picture.

Krithika Ramachandran said...

What a coincidence ! I tried to make Sweet Potato chips this weekend after reading your Yam Crips recipe. Mine was a disaster too. I dont feel that bad now after reading your post :-)
I wonder how they make the commerical grade Sweet Potato chips.

shammi said...

Cookbook Junkie - ok, will put up a photo.

Krithika: Glad to have a fellow-sufferer on board :D I havent seen any commercial-grade baked sweet potato crisps here in the UK. I think the only way to make decent crisps is to deep-fry - something I'm not willing to do!

Krithika said...

Shammi,

I had slices of Beetroot along with Sweet Potato in my oven. I dont have to tell you the fate these met with :-( I buy sweet potato and beetroot chips from World Market here and yes they are deep-fried.

Tina Jennifer D'Silva said...

Hey Shammi... Even the best of the cooks have a disaster.. I think u shd post the pic...

Jennifer said...

Oh, I hate to hear that my favorite vegetable has done you wrong, Shammi!

I think commercially grown sweet potatoes just aren't up to snuff. Once they disappear from my farmer's market, the ones at the grocery are too big, too watery, and bland--I can never get them to crisp up nicely. The smaller in-season ones I love, cut into cubes, drizzled with olive oil, minced garlic, and lots of salt, and roasted at about 425 degrees. One thing that makes a difference in the crispness for me is to make sure they're in a single layer--no crowding of the dish--and to turn them once halfway through.

I hope you won't give up...and I would, absolutely, love to see the pictures!