With all the advances in technology today, I still cannot believe it is impossible to clone humans safely. This is a roundabout way of saying that life has been so incredibly busy that getting posts done for BN Cuisine has been next to impossible. However, I have come up with a few tricks that make juggling a little easier. If I can only stick to the plan…..
On to the potatoes…
Sweet potatoes are a favorite in many households (and kids absolutely love them) – usually served fried in Nigeria and available in different variants. The locally grown sweet potatoes look like cocoyams with tan or dark brown skin and usually have white flesh when peeled. Sweet potatoes from Benin Republic are very common here in Nigeria as well with darker peel than the local variety. These varieties of potatoes can range in taste from bland to mildly sweet. Some supermarkets sell imported sweet potatoes (usually from Europe) with darker red / orange skin that have orange flesh when peeled and can be saccharine sweet. The North Americans call them yams (insert side eye here) and are a staple at many a Thanksgiving dinner table with brown sugar and butter added and topped with marshmallows – bordering on dessert in my opinion. The local variety has the same texture as floury potatoes when mashed unlike the imported kind that tend to be moister.
We tend to get stuck in a rut with foods on heavy rotation in our lives and sometimes in the case of the sweet potato, it is just easier to fry them and move on. This humble root vegetable can be used in so many different ways – try boiling and mashing the potatoes and adding a little butter, salt and cream and serving with steak or grilled chicken with some veggies on the side, or bake with fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary for a fragrant healthier option, You can also make a traditional pottage (porridge) using yams and some sweet potatoes as well as add chunks of sweet potatoes into spicy pepper soup instead of yams.
So many options but how about making some muffins with them? Makes sense in my world for the following reasons: honey muffins, waffles and cornbread are common side dishes served with savory meals in certain parts of the world, sweet crepes can be stuffed with savory fillings – why can’t I make muffins using sweet potatoes that will be a little dense and not overly sweet – which will make them perfect for mopping up sauces? A crunchy topping gives textural balance to these little guys. I also committed to serving corn bread at a Southern themed brunch event and went into the pantry and discovered that packets of cornmeal had developed legs (or I used them all and forgot to restock) and needed an alternative fast and I had quite a few sweet potatoes staring at me. After 3 tries, I was happy with the results and got rave reviews. Seeing as I hate going anywhere empty handed, these also made a pretty gift in a box after the event.
To make 18 muffins, you will needs:
- 3 large sweet potatoes (weigh them to get 450g of potatoes)
- 280g all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 125g sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup liquid full cream milk
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 cup mixed nuts
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Add to a pot of water and cook till soft. Drain and mash using a food processor or a mini pestle and let cool
- Line muffin tins with paper cups and pre heat oven to 200C or gas mark 3
- In a bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt
- In another bowl, stir sugar and cinnamon for topping
- In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, oil, milk and orange zest till smooth. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and stir until well blended. Add the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over mix
- Add the nuts and stir to combine. Spoon batter into muffin cups and sprinkle each muffin with some topping mix
- Bake muffins until a toothpick inserted comes out clean – 20 -25 minutes
- Serve with butter and your favorite baked or fried protein.