It’s Not Really a Potato After All

I always thought that sweet potatoes were part of the potato family.  I mean they look like potatoes and have a lot of similar characteristics as potatoes, and they can be used and cooked in a lot of recipes that call for regular potatoes.  I often cook them together too.  But they are actually NOT part of the potato family at all.  There are a starchy root vegetable from the bindweed family.  Potatoes are part of the nightshade family.  Who knew?  They are very healthy, containing a bunch of vitamins and minerals including calcium and selenium, as well as vitamins B and C.  They are also full of the antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which converts vitamins to energy once they are consumed.  It is believed that sweet potatoes, as well as their cousin the purple potato (which we learned about earlier), help defend the body against free radicals, which may in turn, reduce the risk of cancer, particularly lung cancer.  Although the research studies are still inconclusive at the moment.   It is also believed that eating sweet potatoes can help prevent gastric ulcers, and they can also help improve blood sugar regulation for people with Type 2 diabetes.  However, on the down side, if people are prone to kidney stones, they may want to limit their intake of the sweet potato, since they contain oxalates which bind calcium and other minerals together that could cause kidney stones.   Overall though, eating sweet potatoes is a very good, healthy thing to do.

Sweet potatoes are very versatile and can be found all over the world.  I cook with sweet potatoes a lot.   I often use them when I make my dogs’ food as well.

Today, I made sweet potato latkes, which are very similar to their cousin potato latkes, only they have a bit more pizzazz.  Both are equally delicious, they just have a different style.

Frying them up.


The ingredients.


Putting everything together.



Sweet Potato Latkes

1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded

2 jalapenos, chopped fine

1 heaping TBSP ginger, fresh or from a jar

salt, pepper & red pepper flakes to taste

cilantro, chopped fine

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs

cooking oil for frying

I use my food processor all the time, and I have an attachment that shreds, so I use this all the time as well.  Mix all your ingredients together.    The best way to mix them is with your hands.  Yes, you are going to get your hands dirty and sticky.  Sorry about that.  You want the mixture to be thick enough to form a ball and keep it’s shape, but not to firm or stiff.  Form into balls and press slightly to flatten them out.  I made mine about the size of a tennis ball, but you can make them any size you like.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper and place your sweet potato balls on the paper.  I like to refrigerate mine for at least 1 hour before cooking, so everything sets.  You don’t need much oil, but you do want it very hot before placing your sweet potato balls in the pan.  Brown them to a nice golden brown on both sides, for about 5-7 minutes per side.   I had some leftover chili-lime dressing that I put on top, but sour cream and chives would work well too.  I served these as a I side dish to my Thai basil-coconut shrimp.





Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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