Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sweet Potato Oven Fries



We were having a general discussion on A Shared Meal regarding the health benefits of Sweet Potatoes. One thing let to the other and we started discussing my favorite sweet potato recipe - The utterly delicious Sweet Potatoes Oven Fries. That is when I realized that the recipe is not on the blog. 

I have sighed, groaned and moaned about the fact that my frequently made recipes are hardly there on the blog. Well, things are changing. My Pilafs and Salmon Cakes are finally on the blog. And here comes the other one.




Sweet Potato is one of my pantry staples.  I have swapped my regular potatoes in favor of the sweet potatoes in 90% of my recipes. Being a true blue Bengali, appreciation for anything sweet is in my genes. We instantly liked it and incorporating it into our meal plan was not difficult at all. Packed with goodness, this power house of nutrients, tastes good roasted/grilled, baked, curried and also steamed. Sam and Sid love loves steamed sweet potatoes with a generous sprinkling of brown sugar and a hint of sea salt... YUM!






My family loves burgers! Don't we all???

And every time we have burger night, making these crunchy munchy fries is a compulsion. Since variety is the spice of life, I try different seasoning on these fries. From simple sea salt and pepper to exotic spices like sumac and zatar, nearly everything  has gone into my fries. But personally I feel warm spices like ginger, cumin and cinnamon works best with sweet potatoes. Go ahead and play with spices till you discover your personal favorite!





My three member family had diverse taste. While me and Sam like our fries crunchy (where you can hear the C-R-U-N-C-H), Sid likes them slightly soft. Somewhat like the potato wedges style - crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I have a solution for that too - cut few of your batons slightly thicker. They will remain soft. Sweet potatoes are found in all sorts of weird shapes and getting a uniform cut is tough. That kinda suits us fine. The thinner cuts turns crispy, much like potatoes sticks and land on Sam and my plate, while the softer, thicker batons are reserved for the 5 year old.

The secret to this utterly crispy fries is a gentle coating of corn starch. Before I discovered this tip, my fries used to be really limp. Thanks to Sally of Sally's Baking Addiction for the great idea. 





Don't you simply love it when something really delicious... really yummy turns out to be actually healthy and guilt free too???

These fries are awesome accompaniments to burger, but with the soccer (The FIFA World Cup) fever gripping us badly, these fries are perfect munchies for an exciting game.



Recipe Snapshot: Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Loosely adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Serves: 2 serving

What I used:

Sweet Potatoes - 2, cut into batons (or wedges)

Cornstarch (cornflour) - 4 tsp (2 per potato)

Olive oil (or any other cooking oil of choice) - 2 tbsp (1 tbsp per potato)

Ginger Powder - 1.5 tsp (fresh grated ginger can be substituted. Use at least 3 tsp)

Cumin Powder - 1 tsp

Smoked Paprika - 1 tsp (cayenne or red chili pepper can be used for a spicier version)


Coriander Powder - 1 tsp

Salt to taste

What I did:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line a large baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat. Lightly grease the foil.

2. Cut the potatoes into batons as uniformly as possible. This part is a little tricky. Sweet potatoes are not uniform and often comes in weird shapes. But, try your best to cut them uniformly for even cooking. The thinner cuts will take less time to cook and might char easily. 

3. Place the cut potato batons in a large bowl and toss it with cornstarch. We want a nice thin coating.  Pour the potatoes into a mesh strainer to get rid of any extra cornstarch. Discard the extra cornstarch out of the mixing bowl too. 

4. Place potatoes back into the bowl and add the olive oil and the seasonings - salt, ginger powder, cumin powder, smoked paprika and coriander powder. Toss to combine. All the potatoes must have a even coating of the masalas.

5. Arrange the potatoes onto the baking sheet in single layer. Try not to crowd them or else they won't bake; they will just steam.  

6. Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and flip. Place back into the oven for 15 more minutes. Check the fries at the 10 minute mark. The thinner ones would be done by then. Remove them from the pan to avoid charring. 


7. Once all the fries are done, turn off the oven and put the thinner ones, that you took out earlier, back into the pan and keep the fries inside as the oven cools down for about 20 minutes. This step will help the fries get crispier. Enjoy immediately.




Notes/Tip: You can always play with any seasoning and spice and try to find the one that best suites your taste. Here are few options:
Option 1 - Cinnamon and brown sugar
Option 2 - Pumpkin spice (my another favorite)
Option 3 - Sea salt and pepper
Option 4 - Curry Powder
Option 5 - Sea salt, pepper, red chili powder (or paprika or cayenne)
Option 6 - Garlic, salt and pepper


Diabetic Platter:
Sweet Potatoes are an incredibly nutritious food that are packed with antioxidants like beta carotene, vitamins C, E & D, and minerals such as manganese and iron. They are also high in potassium which helps to lower blood pressure by removing excess sodium and regulating fluid balance in the body. Sweet potatoes are an excellent anti-stress food and are known to help relax muscles, steady nerves, and balance cognitive function. They are also one of the best anti-cancer foods and can particularly help to prevent breast, colon, lung, skin, and oral cancers. Sweet potatoes are known for being easy to digest and are very good for ulcers, inflamed colons, digestive disorders, and constipation. Sweet potatoes contain compounds called phytochelatins that can bind to heavy metals such as lead, mercury, copper, & cadmium and safely remove them through the body. Mothers have even given children who have accidentally swallowed a metallic object such as a coin, plenty of sweet potato so that it will stick to the object and allow it to pass through easier. The health benefits of sweet potatoes are the most bio-available when eaten raw, steamed, or baked. Try making a simple fat-free sweet potato soup by steaming sweet potatoes until soft and then placing in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy smooth. Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, ginger, chili pepper, or curry can be added for a flavor and nutritional boost. Baked sweet potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator and later sliced over a fresh green salad for a hearty lunch or dinner. Sweet potatoes are also delicious mashed with a drizzle of olive oil, coconut butter, or avocado. Sweet potatoes are a comforting, satisfying, and very healing food, consider finding more ways to include them into your diet.
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