Guilt-free comfort with the potato's sweet cousin
The sound of the word ‘potatoes’ makes many adults cringe and many kids ecstatic. French fries, potato smileys, potato wedges, jacket potatoes and many, many more images flash in their little minds. We all know that potatoes are high in carbohydrates and hence increase the blood sugar in our body due to their high GI (glycemic index), which produces more insulin and therefore stores fat.
We like to avoid eating potatoes, but we love them too. So to fill this void of sinful pleasures, I discovered the sweeter version — the sweet potato. This cousin has a low GI and the breakdown of glucose in our body is much slower. This food is known as a complex carbohydrates and is a much wiser and healthier alternative to the notorious potato. It tastes sweet, so children love it and it has enough starch to perform the binding role of the starchy potato.
Roasted sweet potato fries sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt make an excellent snack. Another way of relishing this root vegetable is by boiling, peeling and slicing round discs and tossing it with garlic, chilli flakes and some herbs. I have even hidden it in aloo tikki chaats and toasted sandwiches.
A little trivia about this exquisite superfood is that it contains large amounts of beta carotene, which is a precursor to Vitamin A. As we all know, Vitamin A is essential for proper vision and repair of our immune cells.
The right carbs in our diet give us usable energy to carry on with our day-to-day activities. Bad carbs only get stored as fat and make us feel sluggish. Our brain needs carbohydrates for proper functioning and if deprived of the right carbs, it begins to produce cortisol (the stress hormone), which in turn makes us fat and fall sick.
So I urge you to consume the good carbohydrates in moderate quantities and have fun cooking with them too. Some examples of good carbohydrates are — brown rice, sweet potato, millets, buckwheat, beans, legume and most vegetables.
Sweet Potato Rosti
- 5 to 6 large sweet potatoes
- 1 cup grated melting cheese — Gruyere or mozzarella
- Olive Oil for roasting
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until tender but still firm. Drain and let it cool.
- Once cool, peel and grate the potatoes. Make sure they don’t become mash but remains flaky.
- Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. Make sure not to smoke the oil.
- Add a layer of potatoes and a layer of cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add another layer of potatoes.
- Sprinkle two tablespoons hot water over the top layer, cover and let it cook at low to medium heat until the bottom layer browns.
- Turn with spatula and brown again. In case you find it hard to flip using a spatula, place a plate upside down on the rosti and turn the pan onto the plate. Then slide the undone side of the rosti onto the pan.
- Both side should be brown. Serve with grilled vegetables, home-made pesto or even some sauted spicy mushrooms.
Smart ways to replace potatoes with sweet potatoes:
- Wedges with the skin on, roasted with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and rosemary.
- Boiled sweet potatoes sauteed with chaat masala and lemon juice along with fresh water chestnuts.
- Sweet potato halwa cooked with ghee, cardamom and almonds.
- Sweet potato fries, cut into long, thin strips and roasted in the oven, served with hung yogurt.
- Use it to make jacket potatoes and stuff with cheese, beans and salsa
Manjri Agarwal is a food writer and health coach. Reach her on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sweet Mash
- 4 to 5 sweet potatoes
- 2tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
- ¼ cup low-fat milk
- Salt, pepper and paprika to taste
- Put the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan with water two inches above the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high and simmer until tender. Remove from heat. Drain and return potatoes to saucepan.
- Once the potatoes are slightly cool, peel and mash them. Make sure there are no lumps and it’s smooth in texture.
- Add milk, salt and pepper to sweet potatoes and further mash to desired consistency.
- Add in the chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
- Garnish with paprika as desired. Serve hot or at room temperature with your burger or sandwich.