Author Notes: Need a feisty and fun sweet potato recipe for your holiday table that won’t give you a sugar crash before the pumpkin pie is served? Then this recipe is for you. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn down a serving of marshmallow covered sweet potatoes. But, at holiday time, I tend to keep things simple. I’m more into making sure the cranberry sauce is spiked with bourbon and the turkey is juicy. Plus, this recipe is a nice change of pace from the often, cloyingly sweet marshmallow dish.
This Thai-inspired side dish will jazz up a holiday turkey dinner without giving you a sugar crash before the pie is served. It’s light, creamy, spicy and sweet. The chili and lime energize the sweet potatoes with fresh flavor.
This easy holiday side dish can be prepared in the morning or even a day ahead. It can also be reheated in the microwave without sacrificing taste. With all the other Thanksgiving dishes being prepared, it’s a life-saver. But don’t limit it to your holiday choices, it’s great on any day with pork chops and chicken too.
If you don’t want to roast a chili pepper, then swap it for a little sriracha sauce or a pinch of dried ground red pepper. I highly recommend searching for Thai bird’s eye peppers. These tiny red and green chili peppers are very hot, but I adore them! If you love Thai curries, you’ve tasted them. A jalapeno pepper will work too. Every jalapeno is different. Some are very mild and some are incredibly hot. So dare to taste one to gauge how much to use in this recipe. Removing the seeds and veins of chili peppers also dampens the heat. I keep the spice level at a bare minimum to please everyone. It’s more of a background flavor.
Vietnamese cinnamon is bold and rich. I adore it. I find it at Penzeys Spices. It’s great in everything from baked goods to oatmeal. At holiday time, good, fresh cinnamon matters. Regular cinnamon works fine too.
I use Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream in this recipe. It’s rich and thick. There are other brands of coconut cream in the supermarket, usually by the Latin foods. If you can’t find it, then swap it for a couple of tablespoons of coconut cream taken from the top of a can of full fat coconut milk. Don’t shake the can so the white cream will float to the top. I like Thai Kitchen brand of canned coconut milk.
Makes: about 4 cups
Three large sweet potatoes
All or part of one tiny Thai bird’s eye chili pepper or all or part of a jalapeno pepper. I used almost all of one red Thai bird’s eye chili (see notes).
1 lime, zest half of it and remove the zest.
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated. I use a microplane to grate it.(optional)
2-3 tablespoons of coconut cream. I like Trader Joe’s brand (see notes).
A few pinches of cinnamon. I used strong Vietnamese cinnamon.
Drizzle of honey (optional)
Sea salt to taste
For serving: flaky sea salt or grey celtic salt, drizzle of honey, sprinkle of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400. Cover a baking pan with foil and wrap the sweet potatoes in foil. Poke them with a fork in a few places. Bake them until they’re easily pierced with a knife. Place the peppers on the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes and bake them for about 5-15 minutes, depending on whether you’re using a tiny Thai pepper or a jalapeno pepper. Take the pepper out when the skin is soft and just starting to brown in places. Thai peppers are very tiny and roast in about 5-7 minutes.
Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the sweet potatoes and mince the chili pepper. Put the chili pepper and potatoes in a bowl. Mash them with a potato masher until smooth, adding sea salt to taste. Stir in the coconut milk, a few pinches of cinnamon, the lime zest and a few squeezes of lime juice. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon, some flaky or grey celtic sea salt, another drizzle of honey & enjoy!