Okay, last week was king of the holiday side dishes. This week is the queen. And a king needs a queen. In a January post, I wrote about sweet potatoes being the new "in" food for 2011. In the South, a holiday is not a holiday without sweet potatoes. In homage to my Southern roots, I had to have sweet potatoes as a part of my healthy holiday side dishes.
As a kid, we ate sweet potatoes two ways; one was baked with nothing added and the other was candied with lots of sugar and butter. We considered candied yams a side dish, while some of my Midwestern friends say they are dessert. When most people talk about sweet potatoes and the holidays, they refer to sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Although, I didn't grow up with marshmallow topped sweet potatoes, I do like them. But I am not psychologically attached to them - not like candied yams.
I normally try and throw a little nutrition into my posts, but it's the holidays. So let's just say sweet potatoes are loaded. They have some of everything that you need. This year, we will not bury sweet potatoes beneath marshmallows. Nor will we load them up with sugar and butter. We are going to bring out the natural goodness of sweet potatoes.
Southerners often combine sweet potatoes and coconut. And why not, they are both tropical crops. Sometime ago, I found a recipe for sweet potatoes, coconut milk and grated ginger. I thought the combination sounded wonderful and perfect for the holidays. According to the source, this dish is known as piele in Hawaii. But whatever the origins, this is a great recipe. It will surely grace many a family meals.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, about 3 medium
3/4 cup "lite" coconut milk
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Microwave on high until tender all the way to the center, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. When cool enough to handle, peel off and discard skin. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a medium microwavable bowl and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Add coconut milk, ginger and salt; stir well. Reheat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Note: Sweet potatoes can be baked. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place sweet potatoes on a baking dish and bake until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.