Do you want to try some Okinawan sweet potatoes but don’t know how to cook them? I had the same problem once when my friend suggested that I give it a try. Actually, they taste sweet and soft when cooked, that’s why they became my instant favorites.
I was greatly enamored by the Okinawan sweet potato after I learned that it contains high levels of antioxidants.
It is the same antioxidant, anthocyanin, which gives its flesh that brilliant purple color similar to blueberries and red cabbage. After a long, enduring research, I have discovered three ways on how to cook Okinawan sweet potato perfectly. Curious? Read on below.
What You’ll Need
Okinawan sweet potatoes
The Okinawan sweet potatoes have a beige colored skin but a violet-purple flesh. Once cooked, they have a sweet taste and a creamy texture. Like any other sweet potatoes, they have a low glycemic index and high content of fiber.
To choose for the best Okinawan sweet potatoes, look for those that are firm and free from soft or brown spots. Avoid those that have wrinkled skins. It is also best to choose the medium-sized ones.
You need a good 5-inch knife to peel and cut your Okinawan sweet potatoes for cooking method
You also need it for cutting their ends before serving in cooking method. What I’m using is a 5-inch santoku knife which is quite versatile in chopping, cutting, and peeling the sweet potatoes.
Kitchen cooking mitts
You may need a pair of kitchen cooking mitts to protect your hands when you’re handling the hot casserole dish or the hot stockpot.
When you remove the casserole dish from the oven, make sure that you use the mitts. Any type of mitts will do just as long as it fits right on your hands.
Additional Items Needed (For Cooking Method 1)
A stockpot of cold water
You need a stockpot to boil your Okinawan sweet potatoes. Make sure that the capacity of your stockpot is enough to carry the volume of all your tubers. Use any clean water you have at home.
To drain the excess water from the boiled Okinawan sweet potatoes, use a colander. I prefer a stainless steel colander over the plastic kind because it endures better against the heat. It is also more sturdy and strong.
- Potato Masher
If you like to mash the boiled Okinawan sweet potatoes, use a potato masher. Alternatively, you can use a large fork to mash the boiled tubers but this may take time and less convenient than an actual potato masher.
- Coconut milk
To create that smooth and perfect mashed sweet potatoes, you need coconut milk. I prefer buying the ready-to-use coconut milk than making my own at home because it is more convenient. Although you get the natural taste of a freshly extracted coconut milk, it takes time and effort.
To bring more flavor into your mashed Okinawan sweet potatoes, use cinnamon, salt, and pepper. The sweet-spicy taste of cinnamon enhances the creamy taste of Okinawan sweet potatoes. The salt and pepper are your usual ingredients for additional taste.
Additional Items Needed (For Cooking Method 2)
- Glass casserole dish with lid
You need a casserole dish to serve as the container for the Okinawan sweet potatoes in the oven. Make sure that it has a lid so you can close the dish for that great steaming effect.
Alternatively, you can use a ceramic bakeware but make sure that it’s free from any heavy metals.
- Nutmeg (optional)
Nutmeg is a great option for enhancing the flavor of your baked Okinawan sweet potatoes. It has a nutty, sweet taste that makes it very distinctive. You may use about a pinch of ground nutmeg on your sweet potatoes before serving.
Cooking Method 1: Boiling the Okinawan Sweet Potatoes
The best way to keep their antioxidants is to boil them. In this method, they are boiled for making a smashed sweet potato.
- step 1
- step 2
- step 3
1. Peel and cut
With a knife, peel the Okinawan sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes (about 2-3 inches). If you like to leave the skin on, you may do so but be sure to scrub the tubers from any residue of dirt under a cold running water. To get a reference on how to cut these tubers properly, watch it below.
2. Boil until soft and drain
Fill the stockpot with cold water and add the chopped potatoes. Over medium heat, bring this to a boil for around 45 minutes or until the tubers are soft.
You can check it by piercing a fork in the middle. If your fork pushes through easily, then the potatoes are cooked. Once they’re done, wear a kitchen mitt and bring the pot over the colander in the sink. Pour its contents to drain the hot water.
3. Mash and add coconut milk and spices
In the same stockpot, return the boiled potatoes and mash it with a potato masher. While mashing, add in coconut milk and spices. Mix well until everything is well incorporated.
Cooking Method 2: Baking the Okinawan Sweet Potatoes
This method will bake your tubers in the oven healthily without the extra fat from vegetable oil and without the danger of high heat.
- STEP 1
- STEP 2
- STEP 3
- STEP 4
- STEP 5
1. Preheat the oven
Since cooking starchy foods like, the Okinawan sweet potato on high heat may lead to the development of a potential carcinogen known as acrylamide, you need to bake the sweet potatoes at lower heat.
This may take time but you don’t want to risk yourself to health hazards, do you? So preset the oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes.
2. Fill the casserole dish with water
While your oven is preheating, get the casserole dish and fill it with several inches of water. This will give a steaming effect when the lid is closed. As a result, you keep the sweet potatoes moist throughout the process.
3. Clean the sweet potatoes
Next, rinse the potatoes from any dirt residue. To do this, just bring the sweet potato under a cold running tap water and scrub the exterior using your hands. To get a full view on how this is done properly, watch this video. After cleaning, transfer the cleaned sweet potatoes into the casserole dish that is filled with water and close the lid.
4. Place in the oven
Expect to cook your sweet potatoes for about two hours and 30 minutes.Check them occasionally, say 30 minutes each and move them around a little to cook all of them evenly. If you find that the water has evaporated, refill again.
You might think that this is too long but the aim here is to protect your sweet potatoes from the harmful acrylamides. The beauty of it though is you can guarantee that your sweet potatoes won’t get burned or overcooked.
5. Remove from the oven and serve
You can tell that the Okinawan sweet potatoes are cooked if they easily fall apart. To be certain, get one piece and cut it open on a plate. If it’s soft, wear a kitchen mitt and remove the casserole dish from the oven.
Before you serve them, cut off the ends as they contain the highest concentration of acrylamide and they’re unappetizing, too. You can serve this with a sprinkle of nutmeg to improve its taste.
Tips from the Experts
Keep the skin on
NutritionFacts.org suggests keeping the skin on of Okinawan sweet potatoes when cooking. The skin has almost ten times the antioxidant potency as the flesh.
It also contains fiber which can be great for your digestive system. However, this may only apply to organically grown potatoes because the commercially grown one may contain chemicals.
Select fresh Okinawan sweet potatoes
Recipetips.com recommends selecting the firm and medium sized Okinawan sweet potatoes. Avoid those with wrinkled skins, blemishes, or mushy spots. They should not have a damp smell. For even cooking, it is best to choose potatoes with the same size.
Store them at room temperature
Whole Foods Market specifies the storage of sweet potatoes at room temperature. Make sure that the container where you’re placing has good ventilation. As much as possible, use them after buying, but you can use them not later than one week.
Try to Cook Some Okinawan Sweet Potatoes Today!
Now that you know how to cook Okinawan sweet potato perfectly, make sure that you incorporate it in your diet as it offers a high antioxidant content. You can either bake it in the oven or boil it to make a mashed potato.
Remember not to cook it over high heat to prevent the formation of acrylamide, a potential carcinogen.