My relationship with Sweet Potato started when I was 3 years old, living in Tokyo with my family. There was a man who drove around the neighborhood in a van with a loud speaker and would call out “Yakiimo”. If you ran out to the van you could buy the most delicious roasted sweet potato right out of his truck. Much like ice-cream vans that blare out tinkling tunes to let you know they have arrived, only this is a healthy hot version. It was such a welcome delight in the winter, and the purple skin would blacken and become crunchy while the inside flesh was steaming hot and super soft. I have attached a video I found so you can see what the experience was like.
Some years later, back in New Zealand, I discovered a new love for Sweet Potato (called Kumara in NZ) at a Maori Hangi. A hangi is where your food (including Kumara) is cooked in the earth by being steamed over hot stones. The hangi pit is dug into the ground while rocks are heated to a very high temperature in an open fire nearby. When the rocks are hot enough they are placed in the pit and your food then gets put on top (in baskets). A wet sacking fabric is laid over the food baskets and then the soil is covered back over the pit. About 6 hours later when the food is dug up, you get to experience the wonder of food cooked in the earth! The meat is delectable too, but the Kumara cooked liked this is glorious.
As promised, here is the recipe for my Roast Sweet Potato & Garlic Mash. I served it the other night with Asian Fusion Tuna Steaks, but it would go beautifully with steak, pork and lamb too!
- 4 Sweet Potatoes
- 2 gloves of garlic, peeled
- olive oil
- salt and pepper