If I were a Romantic poet in the style of Keats or Coleridge, I already know what object I would write an Ode to.
The Sweet Potato.
You heard me.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that the sweet potato is the real hero of fall. Move over, Pumpkin Spice. What is Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes? What is LIFE without sweet potatoes? Even if we weren’t nightshade-free, I’d still eat sweet potatoes ALL THE TIME. Sweet potato fries. Sweet potato soup. Sweet potato chips. Mashed sweet potato next to a giant slice of roast chicken…. Mmmmm….
But my favourite sweet potato dish (if I REALLY had to pick one) has to be these Sweet Potato Dumplings. These were an invention of mine when we were living on the island. Newly struggling with the nightshade allergy, dealing with weird groceries… sweet potatoes were my kitchen saviour.
Every Wednesday the grocery boat would come, and I would make a beeline straight for the sweet potatoes. They wouldn’t come every week, no no no, sweet potatoes would be in overabundance one week, and then disappear for three months. Friends were under strict instructions to always pick us up one or two if they got there first.
When they FINALLY came back…
(Me, hugging the potato box and weeping in joy.)
The problem was that in our sweet potato frenzy I always forgot one (rather important) thing:
Eventually, like all food in a humid, tropical climate, sweet potatoes start to spoil. When this happened, I would peel them all, cry over the ones that were unsalvageable, and then chop, boil and mash was left. The mash I didn’t use immediately was divided into bags and stored in the freezer, usually to make these later on.
Now, I know these dumplings don’t look like much, but TRUST ME. They are AMAZING. The best way is to eat them with a little curried mayo (YUM), or just plain. Deeeeelicious!
The first step, of course is to peel and chop all your sweet potatoes. You want them in about 1 inch cubes so they cook relatively quickly.
Rince ‘em and toss ‘em in a pot of water over the stove. Bring those babies to a boil and let ‘em simmer until you can easily spear them with a fork, usually about 20-30 minutes.
Drain that water and mash them! If you don’t have a potato masher, a fork will do.
Now we add our spices, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and some brown sugar. Add your flour as well! A good rule of thumb for the flour is a cup for every sweet potato you put in.
If you want your dumplings to be more rounded and have fewer crispy edges, it’s about a cup and a half to two cups for each potato, until your dough is no longer sticky and can be rolled into balls. I find it depends on the day though, some days I need to add more flour just because it’s damp, so judge accordingly! I like my dumplings crispy and weird.
Now the tricky part. Honestly, I rarely fry things. I don’t own a deep fryer because frankly, they scare the hell out of me, so I’m sure that I’m doing this all wrong, but it works for me, yay trial and error!
That being said, PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH HOT OIL. We’re pan frying these babies so keep little, inquisitive ones away! They will inevitably be drawn by the delicious smell, but this is DANGEROUS. HAVE MY CAPS LOCKS CONVINCED YOU YET? GOOD.
You want to use just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Set to medium-high heat. You want to heat the oil just a bit before you put your dumplings in. I usually give it about 10-20 seconds (again, I don’t fry many things, but this has proven to work through some trial and error!). Using a large spoon, drop your dumplings into the oil, and turn the heat down to medium.
Now here’s the part where you’re going to have to eyeball it a bit. I usually give them a minute on each side. You’ll see notice the ‘cooked’ part creep up the sides (like in the photo above), and that’s when you should flip them. The bottoms should be nice and golden brown. If they’re cooking too fast, turn down the heat. You do want the middles to cook, so medium heat is about where we should be to ensure they’re cooked all the way through.
When they’re done, transfer them to a plate with some paper towel to drain. Eat them while they’re warm! Cold they’re kind of gross. Still delicious, but gross. And voila! There you have it, your beautiful…
… crispy sweet potato dumplings! Enjoy!
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 3 cups white or whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp each cinnamon , cumin and nutmeg
- oil for pan frying
Peel and chop sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
Rinse and place in a pot full of water. Bring to a boil on the stove, and simmer until soft and easily pierced by a fork, about 20-30 minutes.
Drain water and mash the sweet potatoes with a fork or masher.
Add brown sugar, cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg.
Add flour. My usual marker is 1 cup of flour per sweet potato. If you want your dumplings to be smoother and rounder, just add more flour until the dough is no longer sticky and roll it into separate balls for frying. The exact amount may depend on where you live or the weather, but I find it's usually around 2 cups per potato.
In a frying pan, add enough oil to fully cover the bottom of the pan. BE CAREFUL, you are using hot oil here, so take the proper safety precautions!!! Turn the heat to medium high, and let it warm up for about 10-15 seconds. (I'm not a frying expert, but this always works for me)
Drop the dough into the oil with a spoon and turn the heat down to medium to ensure that the dumplings are cooked all the way through.
You'll notice the 'cooked' part creep up onto the sides (see the above photo), and that's when you should flip. It's usually about a minute on each side, but the time might differ depending on your stove, amount of oil, etc.
Once they're done, set them on a paper towel covered plate to drain! Eat 'em while they're hot!