The sweet potato cakes are another dish from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and have turned out to be pretty popular at my house. It does help to make the sweet potatoes at least a day ahead so that this goes a little faster. I steam them while I’m doing another dinner, let them cool for a while and then put them in the fridge until I need them. It’s a pretty easy dish but does take a while to fry, so that’s where the longer cooking time comes from. I made the mistake of doing all my side dishes first so I could focus on the cakes which I thought would be quick, but at 6 minutes or so a side, I ended up twiddling my spatula and wishing I had the side dishes to work on. So, learn from my mistake. Make your sweet potato cake mix and do your sides while you fry. The dishes I made were roasted brussel sprouts and I made up a dish with chana dal that was inspired by eating with an Indian friend of mine whose mother had made a delicious dish I thought I would try to duplicate. I’m still working on it. I’ve made it twice and although I liked it both times, my husband didn’t care for the second version. I’m including the recipe from the first time, obviously, but since it’s still a work in progress, you should feel free to experiment too.
If you steam the sweet potatoes ahead of time, 40 minutes to prepare. Add 1 1/2 hours if you’re doing the sweet potatoes
2 1/4 lbs peeled sweet potatoes, cut into large chunks
3 tbsp Greek yogurt
3 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tsp soy sauce
scant 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp green onion, chopped
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh red chile (I used jalapeno instead)
plenty of butter for frying
-Steam the sweet potatoes until completely soft, about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your chunks. Then leave in a colander to drain for at least an hour. At this point, they can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
-To make the sauce, whisk together all the sauce ingredients until smooth and set aside.
-Once the sweet potatoes have lost most of their liquid, place them in a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients (except the butter). Mix everything together, preferably by hand, until the mix is smooth and even, do not over-mix. The mixture should be sticky, if it’s runny, add some more flour.
-Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a non-stick fying pan or I used cast iron. For each cake, use a tablespoon to lift some mix into the pan and flatten with the back of the spoon to create a not-too-perfect disc that’s roughly 2 inches in diameter and 3/8 inch thick Fry the cakes on medium heat for about 6 minutes per side or until you get a nice brown crust. Place in between two sheets of paper towels to soak up the excess butter. Serve hot or warm, with the sauce on the side.
1 cup chana dal
1 bunch greens, kale or other type
1 small onion
2 medium cloves garlic
1 tsp coriander seed, toasted and ground in mortar and pestle
2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 – 1 tsp chili flakes, depending on heat
1 tsp sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil or ghee if you have it
fresh lemon or lime juice (optional)
-Heat 4 cups salted water to boiling. Add chana dal and cook until tender, 20-30 minutes.
-While the chana dal cooks, wash and very finely chop the greens. Then finely dice the onion and garlic and combine the coriander, cumin, chili flakes, salt and pepper.
-When chana dal is done, drain and set aside. Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat and add onions. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic. Cook for a minute more. Add spice mix and cook for another minute, stirring the whole time. Then add the greens and cover. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then stir to combine all ingredients. Cook until greens are tender, about 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. If there’s too much liquid, increase heat until liquid evaporates. Just before serving, squeeze optional juice over and serve hot.