Friday, August 14, 2009

Polynesian Fried Sweet Potatoes

I'm going to post some Polynesian type recipes for a while. Of course there'll be some times when I have to post something besides that, so the posts won't be 100% Polynesian --I'll (obviously) tell you when it's not.

This, however, is one of those times when the post IS about Polynesian food. I think the title would have given a clue, eh?

Did y'all know that New Zealand is officially part of Polynesia? Tonga is but Fiji (very close by Tonga) is not. However I will be including Fijian recipes. Also one or two from Papau New Guinea even though it's not Polynesian.

Why? Cus this is my food blog! Harumph. Grumble.

One of the hallmarks of South Pacific Island food is the freshness of the ingredients, the way it's cooked, and not overly seasoned. The taste of the fresh food really comes through.

This method for frying the sweet potatoes is a more traditional way than the modern way. The modern way is basically exactly how the Belgians cook Pome Frites. That's chips to the English and french fries to US'ns.

Fried sweet potatoes and fried taro are found all throughout the South Pacific, this recipe isn't from any one particular Island.

Authentic Polynesian Fried Sweet Potato

What you need:
One or two big ole sweet potatoes
Big pot with water
Something for frying (you'll need an inch of oil, I use a wok)
Oil for deep frying --I use sunflower oil.

What you do:
Scrub the sweet potatoes well. You don't need to peel them, no worries. Hack (I like to use my cleaver for this part --fun too!) the sweet potatoes into halves and toss them into a pot of boiling water. If you have a pot large enough then you won't have to chop them in half.

You may have noticed that raw sweet potatoes are much denser and tougher than other spuds. This means you can boil them for 20 mins and although they'll be well-softened they won't be totally cooked through.

Take them out of the water (don't forget to turn the heat off on your stovetop!), let them cool 10 minutes. Slice them into disks 5mm to 10mm thick (around 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick).

Heat up an inch of oil in a wok (or whatever you use for deep frying) and, ummm, deep fry them disks! Obviously, the longer you leave them in the oil, the crispier they'll get. I like to fry mine for about 2 minutes in hot oil (just before the oil starts to smoke), this makes the outer rim crispy and the center soft and SWEET.

Drain on paper towels, lightly (very lightly) salt, and fry the next batch.

This process really brings the sweet, sugary flavour out of the sweet potato.

You may want to fry one disk at a time (with a timer) and then test it for your tastebuds to determine whether you'd like to fry them longer or not.

Once you've made them once, you'll know exactly how long to fry them for your taste and then you can make them at the "drop of a hot". Very tasty, very sweet, very easy.


Alaska-womom said...

I tried to fry the sweet taters once--wish I would have known about the boiling step. So have you autitioned for the food network yet and somehow-did I miss happy Birthday AKDDU?
Cheers to you!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Alaska-womon-trickster: Yeah, frying them raw doesn't work too well. Hmmmm, food network... hmmmm... No, you didn't miss me birfday, no worries.