Purple Power: Yam Fries!

Yams and sweet potatoes rock my world. Sugar? Check. Complex carbs, fiber and vitamins? Check. Yummy caramelization when roasting? Check. Good in sweet and savory dishes? Ohhh yes!

Google, Wikipedia, The Food Network and people are my favorite ways to learn about new ingredients, and earlier in the summer, one of my coworkers was searching for purple yams. Vegetables are usually pretty good for you, unless you turn it into a powder and then bake it into a cake like they do with these in the Philippines. Apparently these yams are being studied for potential health benefits related to menopause, so I decided to give them a try. I’m not expecting to get hot flashes for 25 years, but purple is the colour of feminism, after all, and I wanted to see how they tasted.

This recipe is very basic, but a great way to get kids and fussy adults to eat vegetables is to cut them up, drizzle them with a little oil, and roast them, because the natural sugars caramelize and taste sweeter. Kids (and some grown-ups) usually hate veggies because of their bitter tastes. Except for the little son of one of my clients who didn’t want the excitingly sweet, buttery-tasting cherry tomatoes that I brought from my garden because he said tomatoes were gross. They were in a Marvel Superheroes zip-loc bag, so he might have had some because I said I was friends with Iron Man, who says to “eat your vegetables and be good to your mother.”

These are so easy to make and I often set them in the oven to cook while I’m busy doing something else. Like blogging.

Yam Fries (this will work for any potato or starchy tuber, but purple yams look the coolest)

(a big pan that fits snugly in the oven will serve about 5 or 6 people, so adjust your ingredients accordingly)

Your vegetable of choice!

Salt!

Pepper!

Olive oil!

Dip or sauce!

Look at this beauty! Cut off the nubby bits and chop into about 1.5cm sticks.

Look at this beauty! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, cut off the nubby bits and chop into about 1.5cm sticks.

Pour a little oil into a big bowl, drop a pinch of salt and pepper in, swirl the bowl, and dump all the fries into it. Toss several times until fully coated. If you need more oil, go slowly because you don't want them to get nasty and geasy.

Pour a little oil into a big bowl, drop a pinch of salt and pepper in, swirl the bowl, and dump all the fries into it. Toss several times until fully coated. If you need more oil, go slowly because you don't want them to get nasty and greasy.

Slide them into a pan (keep them in 1 layer) and turn over in about 20 minutes. Remove after another 20.

Slide them into a pan (keep them in 1 layer) and turn over in about 20 minutes. Remove after another 20.

I was really happy to find this harissa paste at Meat The Butcher on 10th Avenue. It's from the island Djerba, from my dad's home country, Tunisia. I used some to make a spicy mayo dip. This stuff is pretty bleeping hot so use it carefully or prank someone with it. Don't tell them it was my idea.

I was really happy to find this harissa paste at Meat The Butcher on 10th Avenue. It's from the island Djerba, from my dad's home country, Tunisia. I used some to make a spicy mayo dip. This stuff is pretty bleeping hot so use it carefully or prank someone with it. Don't tell them it was my idea.

These tasted slightly starchier, more fibrous and dense than regular yams, which release water when they bake. When I cut them, they felt rough, and interestingly, the crunchy edges that touched the pan and caramelized turned orangey gold!

These tasted slightly starchier, more fibrous and dense than regular yams, which release water when they bake. When I cut them, they felt rough, and interestingly, the crunchy edges that touched the pan and caramelized turned orangey gold!

Honestly the first time I’ve ever seen a hypercolour potato. This silly camera of mine skews things a little yellow because of the lighting in the kitchen, so the harissa sauce looks yellowy-orange and the yams look more orangey-brown than purple. I thought of making wasabi mayo for a fun purple-and-green alien-looking colour combination on the plate, but that resulted in me stomping around like Godzilla, roaring “where the *#$% is my wasabi paste!!! AAAAAARGH!” At least the fries killed monster hunger. The monster tantrum had to cool down but the wasabi is still missing! Sigh.

Eat well!

Kari

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This entry was posted in Appies & Sides, Gluten-free, Healthy, Spreads & Dips, Vegetarian, Whole Wheat & Fibertastic and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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