February 15, 2009

Sweet Potatoes That Aren't

Most people eat sweet potatoes about once a year, usually at Thanksgiving. And it probably has marshmallows melted all over it, or glazed with maple syrup. In other words, the "sweet" in the sweet potato is what is emphasized.

But in other cultures, the sweet potato serves as more than just a dessert. They are a staple of the Maori in New Zealand, and sweet potatoes are enjoyed throughout the Caribbean, Asia, and parts of Africa. It's a shame these root vegetables are not more popular in the U.S. because they are delicious and more nutritious than white potatoes.

For us, the subtle sweetness of the sweet potato couples well with coconut, curry, and hot spices. You'll see lots of sweet potato recipes on this blog, but for now we'll start with a sumptuous soup.

This recipe assumes you're using a pressure cooker, which will cook up this dish under 15 minutes, but you can use a conventional pot; it will just take longer to get the potatoes tender.

Curried Coconut Sweet Potato Soup


4 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 13-oz can coconut milk
2 T curry powder (adjust for your desired amount of "heat")
1 1/2 lbs sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 scallions, thinly sliced (keeping white and green parts separate)
1/2 c frozen peas


1. In a pressure cooker, blend the coconut milk, broth, and curry. Add the sweet potatoes and white parts of the scallions.

2. Lock the lid and bring pressure to high. Lower temperature and maintain high pressure for 8 minutes. Remove the cooker from the heat and let the pressure reduce naturally for 5 minutes. Release the rest of the pressure using quick release.

3. Remove the lid and crush the potatoes slightly and stir into the broth. Add the peas and green parts of the scallions and place back on the heat. Cook for another minute until peas are tender.

4. Salt to taste.


  1. Ugh, I can't stand Thanksgiving marshmallow sweet potatoes. I've taken to slicing sweet potatoes thin and baking them in the oven with coarse sea salt and dried herbs. My dad pan fries small pieces with scrambled eggs on weekends. Mmm! So much better than white potatoes.

  2. Slices of sweet potato with a bit of goat cheese on top...in the oven or microwave.....

    Brother Thomas

  3. Made this soup for Easter. Delicious! Left out the green peas (didn't feel like they were needed...we also made an avacado soup), I did add a teaspoon or so of ground cummin.