A long time ago, I spent 3 months in California, writing my MSc dissertation while simultaneously working in two part-time jobs. Despite being fairly busy, it was a fun time, and I met lots of nice people. Early on in my American adventure, I was invited to a pot-luck dinner, and jumped at the opportunity to make some new friends. It was all very well organised, and attendees were emailed in advance and given categories of food to prepare. I got ‘side dish’.
Having made sticky baked sweet potatoes previously, to acclaim, I decided to have another go at them. The original recipe included soy sauce, ginger, garlic & chilli. I hit the local supermarket and got busy.
Unfortunately, I was not used to the local ingredients. I bought several chillis. I began to prepare them. I lost the feeling in my finger tips…
Thank heaven I realised at this stage that I’d bought scotch bonnet chillis and not some tame European variety! I’d only put one chilli into a huge tray of sweet potatoes, and as it was, they were pretty fiery. Any more and they would have been inedible!
And fortunately, there were enough diners at the potluck who were into spicy food, that the sweet potatoes still got scoffed. Phew.
It was several years before I attempted these sticky baked sweet potatoes again, and even now, with the memory fading into obscurity, I still can’t bring myself to add chillis of any kind. Instead, I’ve boosted the amount of garlic & ginger, and added some maple syrup to enhance the stickiness and give everything its lovely warm flavour. You’re welcome to throw some chilli in if you like. Just be careful which ones you choose 😉
This time, I also added aubergines (eggplants) to the pan, mostly because everything is better with aubergines in it, as far as my family is concerned. They baked to soft, gooey deliciousness and went wonderfully with the sweet potatoes. If you’re the sort of family that doesn’t feel they need an identifiable lump of protein on the plate, then this makes a perfectly good main dish. We had it on top of a lovely vegetable salad, with mixed leaves, avocado, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes and radishes. Yum.
This recipe made four generous portions. I heated up some of the leftovers for lunch the following day and melted cheese over the top. Super-delicious! The rest I had cold in a tortilla with some more avocado and a squirt of mayonnaise. Mmmm. I’m drooling…
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- 3 large sweet potatoes (approx. 1.2kg)
- 2 small-medium aubergines (eggplant)
- 20g piece fresh root ginger
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 75ml olive oil
- 25ml tamari or soy sauce
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 4-5cm chunks. Wash the aubergines, remove the stalks, and cut into similar size pieces. Place the sweet potato and aubergine pieces in a large baking tray.
- Peel the ginger and garlic, and place into a mini-chopper or food processor with the oil, tamari and maple syrup. Process to give a smooth dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix well so that everything is evenly coated. Bake in the preheated oven at 200C for around 40 minutes, until the sweet potatoes and aubergines are soft and golden.
- Serve with salad as a main dish, or separately as a side dish.
I’m also putting it forward for May’s Vegetable Palette challenge, which is all about ‘favourite vegetables’. Aubergines are a firm favourite here – tasty, versatile, easy to cook. Kipper would eat them every day if she could!
Given that we had roasted veg, served with a salad of vegetables, I think this qualifies for the Extra Veg challenge! It’s hosted this month by Kate at Veggie Desserts and organised by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle at Utterly Scrummy.