Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Recipe for Soy-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Sesame Seeds

Soy-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Sesame Seeds
I'm adding this you-must-try-it recipe for Soy-Glazed Sweet Potatoes to the list we're compiling of Thanksgiving Recipes, and if your family serves those brown sugar laden sweet potatoes that show up at Thanksgiving, this version would be a nice change of pace. The recipe is from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors, a classic book I just discovered. When I was making this the first time I said on Twitter that I wasn't sure it would turn out, and Deborah Madison fans told me never to doubt her. After I tasted it, I could see they were right. It's early in the Thanksgiving recipe testing season, but I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be my favorite Thanksgiving recipe of 2009!

I'm posting these special sweet potatoes for the Four Year Anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging, an event I started by accident and kept going for three years. Now WHB is managed by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once. You have until Sunday to send an entry and maybe win The Spice and Herb Bible, so join the fun!

For Weekend Herb Blogging I want to clarify that orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are not yams, no matter what the grocery store sign may say. (I once came close to getting into an argument over this, so don't mention it as you're buying them!) But since Haalo herself is hosting this week I thought I'd also feature Verjuice, an interesting plant ingredient she sent me as a gift. Verjuice (sometimes called Verjus in the U.S.) is the juice of unripe grapes, and it adds a lovely barely-sour fllavor to sauces or salad dressings. I've never seen it for sale here, so I'll give other options to use in the recipe, but I've sure had fun trying this. (Thanks Haalo!)



For this recipe I used Verjuice in the glaze, but you can use rice vinegar if you can't find it, or if you don't care about the amount of sugar, use Mirin like Deborah Madison did. Mix the glaze ingredients together first so the sweet potatoes don't have a chance to get brown after they're peeled.

When I'm peeling sweet potatoes I like to start by cutting the pointed ends off, because honestly, who like trying to peel those pointed ends?

If you have a nice sharp peeler, sweet potatoes are really a snap to peel. I'm a bit picky about getting all the little "eyes" out, but they don't hurt a thing.

Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Deborah Madison baked them in larger pieces like this, but I wanted them a bit smaller.

I cut the halves into diagonal slices about an inch wide, and to keep them close to the same size I ended up cutting a few of the bigger ones in half again.

Toss the sweet potatoes with the glaze in a bowl, or use a plastic bag like I did to get the sweet potatoes well-covered with the liquid mixture.

You need a glass or crockery dish with a lid and be sure you spray with non-stick spray or olive oil, or you'll be sorry! Pour the sweet potatoes and glaze into the dish.

Then put the cover on and bake for twenty minutes. (You can use foil, but this photo is to emphasize that you bake it COVERED for the first 20 minutes!)

Then remove the lid, give it a good stir so the potatoes get covered with glaze and put back in for 10 minutes. (Use a timer!)

Continue to cook about 30 minutes longer, using a timer to remind you to stir every ten minutes. The sweet potatoes are done when they're soft when pierced with a fork, nicely glazed with the soy mixture, and starting to brown.

The first time I made this I just used black sesame seeds, but I liked the mixture of white and black sesame seeds better. If you don't have sesame seeds, garnish with thinly sliced green onions.

I just stirred the sesame seeds in right in the baking dish, because who wants to dirty extra dishes? Serve hot, and wait for squeals of delight as your guests take their first taste.


Soy-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Sesame Seeds
(Makes about 4-5 servings but can easily be doubled, recipe adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison.)

Ingredients:
3-4 medium or 2-3 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (Your store produce department probably calls them yams or sweet yams, but they're really sweet potatoes!)
1 tsp. black sesame seeds
1 tsp. white sesame seeds
(or use all one color sesame seeds or use sliced green onions as a garnish)

Glaze Ingredients:
1 T sesame oil
1 T Splenda
1 T brown sugar
(or use 2 T Splenda or 2 T brown sugar)
2 T Verjuice or rice vinegar (Or if you don't care about sugar content, use Mirin like Deborah Madison did.)
1 T garlic puree
3 T soy sauce
1 T water

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400F/205C. In a measuring cup combine the sesame oil, Splenda, sugar, Verjuice or rice vinegar, garlic puree, soy sauce, and water. Spray baking dish with non-stick spray or olive oil, using a dish with a lid if you have one.

Cut pointed ends from sweet potatoes, then peel with a sharp vegetable peeler. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half on the diagonal into slices about an inch thick. (Cut some of the larger slices in half again if you need to so you have same-size pieces.)

Put sweet potatoes into a bowl or a plastic bag, then pour in glaze mixture and stir or turn over bag until the sweet potatoes are well-coated with the glaze mixture. Pour sweet potatoes and glaze into baking dish, cover, and bake 20 minutes.

Remove cover stir, so potatoes are all basted with the glaze mixture, then set timer for 10 minutes and continue to stir and reset timer every 10 minutes. Total cooking time should be about 50 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork and lightly browned and glaze has all been absorbed.

Garnish with black and white sesame seeds or green onions and serve hot.


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South Beach Suggestions:
Sweet potatoes are approved for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet, and they're the type of low-glycemic food that's considered a "good carb" for South Beach. If you avoid the mirin, (which is loaded with sugar) even if you use the tablespoon of brown sugar, this is still a pretty diet-friendly dish. I would probably make it with all Splenda for phase two.

More Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Ideas:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Red Onions, Rosemary, and Parmesan from Kalyn's Kitchen
Spicy Crockpot Sweet Potatoes from Kalyn's Kitchen
Nikki's Sweet Potatoes from 101 Cookbooks
Thyme-Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Kristen at Serious Eats
Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Cuisine Diva
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Ras el Hanout from Feeding Maybelle

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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39 comments:

  1. I'm so glad that someone else realizes the yam misnomer! However, the variety that is usually labeled as yams (the ones with darker skin) are much sweeter, and I usually prefer these over the light ones. One day I want to try an actual yam.

    I'm so glad that you accidentally started WHB!

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  2. ooh wow! How informative you are! The white and black sesame seeds mix looks beautiful together. I love hearing you boast about this being potentially your favorite thanksgiving dish. I'm all about making people's favorites! I can't wait to try this one...

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  3. There is a sweet potato in my pantry, and now I know what to do with it! Fabulous recipe!

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  4. Count me in, Kalyn ... they sound delicious! Thank you :)

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  5. I have seen verjuice and always wondered what it was (and then forgot to look it up once I got home). BTW, these look and sound great, excellent mouthwatering photos

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  6. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite veggies and no Thanksgiving would be complete without them. Thanks for sharing this! It looks delicious.

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  7. Sweet potatoes are probably one of my all time favorite foods and these look fabulous.

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  8. I love sweet potatoes and do not like those sugared up marshmallowed sweet potatoes that are customary at Thanksgiving. I blame that recipe for clouding my perception of sweet potatoes early on. I'm going to make this recipe this year. Thanks for the post.

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  9. Oh Kalyn, god bless you! The year I was an exchange student in Japan, I used to eat this all the time. In Japan its called Daigakuimo which literally translates into "University Potato"--I guess its something college kids eat a lot. I've found some packet mixes for this wonderful food but they've been laden with trans fat, so I never gave them a try. I'm so glad to have found your recipe. Can't wait to make this for myself!

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  10. I love sweet potatoes! Your recipe sounds lovely, and the sesame seeds must give it such wonderful texture. I will definitely bookmark it for the next time I have sweet potatoes on hand :)

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  11. This sounds like a sure-fire Thanksgiving winner. I have Deborah Madison's book "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" and every recipe I have tried has been exceptionally good.

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  12. Thanks for the nice feedback everyone! (For some reason my comments aren't going to e-mail, so I just found most of these comment. Wish my e-mail provider would get that fixed!)

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  13. I was lucky to interview Deborah Madison over lunch when Local Flavors came out (she eats meat, BTW). I looked at her point-blank and said, "Your recipes are..."
    She looked a little nervous and said, "What?"
    "Unbelievably fantastic. Genius."

    Oh, Kalyn, you'd appreciate this: Fran McCullough, the author of the Good Fat Cookbook, used to be Madison's editor.

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  14. I've been meaning to find a good sweet potato recipe that is the same old thing. thank you!

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  15. Excellent idea, and a nice option to all the sweet glazes. In fact, I have 7 pounds of sweet potatoes to use up, so I'm adding this to the cooking "To Do" list!

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  16. Cookiecrumb, so jealous you got to meet her. I'm very impressed with the book. (Have a feeling I'll be buying her other books too!) And fun to hear about Fran M. being her editor. (Wish she was my editor!)

    Rachel, thanks.

    TW, I predict you'll really like this. Lucky you, with all those sweet potatoes.

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  17. Gorgeous side dish or even a full meal for me.

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  18. I love sweet potatos, there's always plenty of them in the kitchen, now thanks to you I can find a proper use for them.

    My wife hates soy, but maybe I can still convince her once it's my turn in the kitchen :)

    Thanks a lot!

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  19. Fabulous recipe of sweet potatoes! Easy, simple and delish.

    I love sweet potatoes very much. Actually, I tend to eat more and more. Sometimes I just pop them in the oven, wrapped in foil when I don't want to cook. :P

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  20. Trying to wrap my head around soy with sweet potatoes, but either way, it looks like a great alternative to the marshmallow variety that usually appears on the table.

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  21. I do think this is a dish with enough complex flavors that you might get a non-sweet potato fan to like it! Cate, one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Utah has a dish called Nan King Chicken with chicken and sweet potatoes, which I think is one reason this sounded good to me originally!

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  22. I always make roast sweet potato wedges with chilli, garlic, rosemary and olive oil. I have only come across sugar-glazed sweet potatoes in Japan, and I must confess I hated them. I was unaware that it was popular in the US too.

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  23. If you live near a vineyard, check and see if they sell Verjus. Westport Rivers Winery, not too far from Providence (RI), does, and I love to use it in my cooking.

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  24. That is a nice way to enjoy some sweet potatoes!

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  25. Mmm... I love the tangy flavors in this recipe, Kalyn. And as for your low-glycemic Thanksgiving recipes, you make it easy and delicious!

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  26. Wow, these were so good! Thanks for sharing the recipe--it's a keeper. I used rice vinegar, but if I come across verjuice, I'll pick it up for this. My 5 year old wouldn't eat the sweet potatoes (doesn't like cooked vegetables), but insisted in dipping his raw carrots in the sauce on my plate.

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  27. K., so glad you liked it. I loved this recipe! That's funny about the 5 year old! Makes me think that this sauce would be great on roasted carrots too!

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  28. I found this recipe yesterday and tried it out for dinner last night. My husband is on phase 3 of South Beach, and while he was never a big fan of sweet potatoes (didn't like the sweetness) I have been trying to use them more, for the diet. I typically bake them, but I was looking for something different. I admit that I couldn't quite imagine how this was all going to come together and taste, but it turned out so good, and I will definately make it again! My husband said that this was probably the very best he'd ever tasted sweep potatos (probably because the flavors were more complex, not as sweet overall). This is a big deal, coming from him! :-)

    The texture of the potatoes was really good. I actually left on the skins for nutrition, but you couldn't even tell they were there, everything was so tender. I cooked it in a cast iron pot with a lid. The glaze thickened up and the potatoes got perfectly tender in the last 10 minutes after I stirred them to baste. I used 2 packets of stevia instead of sugar and Splenda, and since I had both mirin and rice vinegar on hand, I used one T of each. I also used both black and white sesame seeds--pretty! Since I cook Asian dishes often, I had all this stuff on hand already, which was quite convenient.

    This one's a keeper!

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  29. Wasn't it just great, I loved it too. Now I'm wishing I had thought of leaving the skins on the sweet potatoes, what a great idea! Glad it was a hit!

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  30. recently ive discovered the glorious taste Sweet potatoes can bring to a dish, so i will be trying this very soon.

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  31. all this food talk has made me so hungry! i need to find some sweet potato.

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  32. Splashback, this is absolutely one of the best sweet potato dishes I've ever made, do try it!

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  33. Sounds, delish, but... I'm confused by the alternate sugar amounts listed. Should it be 1 T, or 2?

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  34. I used 1 T of Splenda and 1 T brown sugar, but instead of the sugar/Splenda blend you can also use just one or the other, which would be 2 T of Splenda or 2 T of brown sugar.

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  35. I think these sweet potatoes sounds just delicious! I have never gone the soy-glazed route before but I think that it might be a welcomed change to Thanksgiving dinner. I love finding new Thanksgiving Recipes. I am always reviewing recipes but I personally love the warm comfort foods of the fall and winter. Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday!

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  36. This was too yummy for words! We only get sweet potatoes here in the UK (no yams) and they are usually pretty large so I used just one for hubby and I. I used the rice vinegar as that's what I had...don't think I could find Verjuice here anyway. It wasn't clear as to whether to put the lid back on after the first stir, but I left it on for the 10 minutes, then removed it for the last 10 minutes. I used all brown sugar as I'm not crazy about Splenda in cooked things...I only use it in my coffee! Thanks Kalyn...this is another keeper!

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  37. Terri, so glad you liked it!

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  38. We featured these soy glazed sweet potatoes on Five Friday Finds this week! http://morselsoflife.com/five-friday-finds-123.html

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