Ottolenghi’s sweet potato cakes

Sweet potato cakes

Ingredients

1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 tsp soy sauce
100g flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
3 tbsp spring onion, chopped
½ tsp fresh chilli, finely chopped (or more, to taste)

Lots of butter, for frying

For the sauce:

50g Greek yogurt
50g sour cream
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Steam the sweet potato until soft, then drain in a colander for an hour. Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside. In a mixing bowl, work all the fritter ingredients by hand – it should be sticky, so if it’s a little runny, add some flour. Do not over-mix.

Dip your hands in water and shape walnut-sized balls with the fritter mix, then flatten so you have round cakes around 5cm in diameter and less than 1cm thick. Place on an oily surface.

Melt some butter in a nonstick pan. Using a fish slice, lift the cakes in to the pan and fry on moderate heat until you get a nice, brown crust, turning as necessary – about six minutes. Place between two sheets of kitchen towel, to soak up the excess butter. Serve hot or warm, with the sauce on the side and a crisp green salad. From the Guardian

The recipe doesn’t make this clear, but I do literally steam these in a bamboo steamer. Perhaps that keeps them drier and less messy. My cakes are quite firm as they go into the pan, they don’t fall apart, they are easy to turn. Does this mean I’m doing something wrong?

I sometimes add fresh coriander to the cakes themselves. Happy to use shallots instead of spring onions.

Luckily, I don’t think that these need a lot of butter, which would make my doctor disappointed. I imagine, actually, brushing with butter and baking would work, though I haven’t tried it.

Also, if you prefer, you can use only yoghurt instead of yoghurt, cream and oil for the sauce.

Anyway, basic point is, these are too easy and divine. You can leave the mixture overnight, you can do the steaming well ahead. In short, this is one of those Ottolenghi dishes which is simple in execution and taste, but has star quality. You could serve them for anyone, anytime.

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