Although on the outside they look like ordinary white-skinned sweet potatoes, their flesh is actually a rich purple colour. Like other sweet potatoes, they have a starchy texture, but they have a distinct sweetness that makes them far superior in terms of taste. I just love them.
Purple sweet potatoes can be enjoyed in many different ways, but it is best to prepare in the most basic manner so its starchy sweetness can really shine. The simplest way is to pop it whole into the oven and roast at 350F until fork tender, and then just cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the moist, tender sweet flesh. Yum!
But to truly appreciate these purple gems, this dessert soup is without doubt the best preparation method (at least I think so!). The combination of starchy sweet potatoes with a tangy, yet sweet ginger syrup is a match made in heaven. With each sip, you will get an amazing flavour combination — the spicy, tangy flavour of the ginger first explodes on your taste buds and then the sweetness slowly kicks in and soothes the ginger’s zing. Sensational.
The amount of ginger I used may seem like a lot, but the spiciness of it perfectly complements the syrup’s sweetness. So, even if the ginger taste is too strong for you, don’t even think about skipping it! Just use less because you’ll want at least some gingery aroma to be infused into the syrup — this is the essential step that transforms this dessert from being good to becoming absolutely divine!
And if, in the end, the ginger flavour is still too strong for your taste (although I assure that the gingery flavour gets more addictive as you take more sips), you can always add more water to dilute the spiciness, but you will need to add back some sweetness by adding more sugar though.
To me, this beats any other comfort food. Nothing is more heart-warming than this. I just love it…love it!
Purple Sweet Potatoes with Ginger Syrup
1 small Okinawan purple sweet potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 inch knob of ginger, julienned (essential ingredient – do not skip this!)
20g rock sugar (available at Asian supermarkets)
In a small pot, put in sweet potato chunks, ginger and sugar. Add enough water to barely cover the sweet potatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Gently simmer, covered with a lid, until sweet potatoes can easily be pierced with a knife, about 10 – 15 minutes.
Half way through, the sugar should be melted, so taste it to see if it is sweet enough, add more sugar if desired (take note that rock sugar takes a while to melt, so avoid adding it in last minute). Also taste syrup to see if the ginger flavour is strong enough for you. If so, then scoop out the ginger pieces with a slotted spoon. If not, let the syrup simmer gently for longer to get more gingery flavour into it.
When sweet potatoes are tender and the syrup has just the right amount of spiciness and sweetness, remove pot from heat and serve immediately. Tastes best when served hot!
Have you tried purple sweet potatoes before? How did you prepare it?