Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods on the planet. I absolutely love them. Why?
Their gooey, cooked texture! Their warm, soothing taste! Their vibrant (beta-carotene packed) color! Their superior fiber content! Their antioxidant capacities!
Oh sweet potatoes.
You can imagine how lost I am without them when I travel. It’s rough I tell ya.
Upon moving to Thailand, I assumed I would be without my favorite tuber for a couple of months. Imagine my over-the-moon excitement when I saw the familiar shape and size of my favorite thing roasting away over a hot-coaled grill at the night market. The grill was presided over by a tiny old woman, aged perhaps 110 years. She sat on a small stool next to her grill and chuckled back and forth with those surrounding her. She casually checked the potatoes from time to time, and used her bare hands to move them about. Her cracked old hands did not seem to mind handling the sizzling hot potatoes, and instead moved about the grill in a synchronized rhythm of culinary know-how.
I stopped staring at the potatoes and the hands, snapped to attention, and began to frantically search through my pocket English-Thai dictionary. I found the word for sweet potato (มันเทศ…Got that?) and cautiously asked the tiny woman.
Absolutely no recognition.
A puzzled look.
A laugh with her lettuce-selling neirhboor.
Me again: มันเทศ ? ?!?@&*@^
She quizzically repeated the word I had just spoken, with a slightly different tone. I cautiously nodded my head yes. She beamed with delight and started checking to find the perfect potato, turning them each over this way and that. I asked for 3 little ones, and basically drooled as I watched the tiny woman wrap them carefully in a banana leaf and place in a plastic bag with those amazing hands of hers. The three potatoes cost me around 20 cents, by the way.
With lots of thanks in my pathetic Thai, I left the small woman and walked through the night market until I found a small step I could sit down out. Yes, I needed to sit for this glorious moment. I bit in, closed my eyes and was transported to sweet potato heaven, Thailand style. Sweet, roasty, creamy goodness.
When I opened my eyes and started at my precious potato, I saw something amiss. The inside was purple! Deep, dark, beautifully purple. I don’t judge a food based on appearance, so I happily ate my purple sweet potatoes and marveled over how such a glorious thing could exist.
So the purple ones exist, and are incredibly healthy for you too, just like their orange hued brothers. Purple sweet potatoes particularly have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well. As they pass through our digestive tract, they may be able to help lower the amounts of heavy metal and oxygen radicals in our body. They range from being more lavender in color to deep and dark, like an eggplant. I found that the darker fleshed interiors tasted the sweetest and creamiest.
So all in all, whether your sweet potatoes and orange or purple, eat up and enjoy all the goodness those little tubers provide.
Grilled Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch thick rounds
2 T coconut oil
1/8 tsp each: cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and cumin (You can add less cayenne if you don’t like a lot of spice)
A few dashes of sea salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in one bowl and toss to evenly coat.
Pour potatoes onto aluminum foil and wrap up in a small, tight parcel.
Place aluminum foil parcel on a grill heated to around 400 degrees. Grill sweet potato rounds over low/medium heat for about 30-40 minutes. Carefully remove from grill, and gently unwrap hot parcel.