After eating a Thanksgiving meal packed with starches (mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, and the special German noodles - spaetzle - that my Grandmother always brings), I thought it would be fun to do a starch I had never tried before. Enter the purple sweet potato:
Also known as the Okinawan sweet potato, as they are native to the Japanese island, these large bumpy spuds are widely eaten in Hawaii. They have a ton of vitamins and minerals and are low in calories -- about 140 for a cup. The purple color is caused by the presence of anthocyanin, which is being currently researched for its anti-cancer components.
I found a recipe for mashed purple sweet potatoes that called for coconut milk. Um, sold! (If you aren't a fan of coconut, use regular milk.) Peeling these proved difficult because of the deep grooves, so I tossed them whole into a pot of boiling water. They were pretty big, and pretty dense, so they took a while to soften, maybe 45 minutes. After they were fork tender, I took them out to cool before peeling. This is what they look like inside:
I peeled them and took a taste. They have a distinctly floral flavor, with a texture that is slightly denser than a yam. Once mashed with the coconut milk, salt and pepper, they became creamy and the floral aspects mellowed. I served them with pineapple-ginger marinated grilled chicken and white asparagus. The color is reminiscent of grape soda, but the purple sweet potato is delicious and I will definitely try them again!