Sweet potatoes are at their peak in Winter – shiny skin, large sizes, unblemished exterior, very instagramable. Baked, fried, simmered or steamed they make the most wonderful dishes. They make quick soups with potato, for example, and bake really well, especially if slathered in cream. It appears humble, this vegetable, but at its heart there lurks a star.
Ottolenghi talks about a cafe in Telaviv that won its reputation with this sweet potato fritter – also called sweet potato cake. It is a wonderful recipe, without eggs too, so it did not require the usual adaptations in this kitchen.
The ultimate comfort food- soft, a bit messy and delicious.
The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook, an early one but still treasured in our house. Along with Plenty More and Ottolenghi, it holds many memories of great feasts. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and you can find the Guardian version of the recipe here.
Similar dishes include Pea, Za’atar and Feta Fritters, Sweet Potatoes and Deep Fried Tofu in Coconut Miso Broth with Noodles, Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potato with Caper Vinaigrette, and Sweet and Sour Pumpkin and Sweet Potato.
Sweet Potato Fritters
makes 16 – 19 fritters
1kg sweet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into large chunks
2 tspn soy sauce
100g plain flour
sea salt, to taste
0.5 tspn sugar
3 Tblspn spring onion, chopped
½ tspn fresh chilli, finely chopped (or more, to taste)
lots of butter, for frying
50g Greek or Desi yoghurt
50g sour cream
2 Tblspn olive oil
1 Tblspn lemon juice
sea salt and black pepper
1 Tblspn fresh coriander, chopped
Steam the sweet potato until soft, then drain in a colander for an hour. Pull the peel off.
Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, work all the fritter ingredients by hand except the butter – it will be a little sticky – if it’s a little runny add some more flour. Do not over-mix.
Flour your hands and shape heaped Tblspns of the fritter mix into a patty around 5cm in diameter and less than 1cm thick. Dip each side in a little flour and place on an oiled surface or greaseproof paper.
Melt some butter in a non-stick pan. Place the fritters into the butter in the pan and fry over moderate heat until you get a nice, brown crust, turning as necessary – about six minutes (it might help to use an egg slice to lift the fritters into the pan). Place on kitchen paper towel to soak up the excess butter.
Serve hot or warm, with the sauce on the side and a crisp green salad.
recipe notes and alternatives
I made the same sauce with the Broad Bean Burgers.
The sauce can be made with all yoghurt or all sour cream.