I’m just so excited that we have local sweet potatoes this year that I can barely contain myself. Sweet potato pancakes, sweet potato dumplings, sweet potato gnocchi, sweet potato souffles… I want to have sweet potatoes for every meal. After all, it might be a few years before they are available locally again.
It’s this fervor over sweet potatoes that brings me to this recipe. You see, this recipe wasn’t entirely successful. I’ve made it twice now and while the flavor is fantastic, the composition and cooking of these really falls short. Possibly the problem is that we don’t own a deep fryer. Possibly this recipe is reason enough to buy one. However, my kitchen is full, my cholesterol is a bit higher than it should be, and we try to only cook (and post) recipes that don’t require anything other than the most average spate of kitchen tools. We didn’t even own a food processor until a few months ago!
I debated bringing you this recipe today, since I had such trouble cooking it. But the flavor was so amazing that I’m pretty sure I actually used the words “frickin awesome” on Twitter after sampling them. So I give you Sweet Potato Balls – my husband’s new favorite expression and my delicious stovetop nemesis.
- 1 lb sweet potatoes
- 1 egg
- 1 red onion, minced
- 3/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Oil for frying
- Peel and cook the sweet potatoes until mostly tender.
- Mash the cooked sweet potatoes.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, egg, red onion, ginger, flour, parsley, a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper, and some sea salt and cracked pepper.
- Chill the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm.
- Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate.
- Take tablespoon sized lumps of the chilled mixture and roll in the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a plate.
- Form all of the sweet potato balls and coat with breadcrumbs.
- Heat oil over medium high heat.
- Fry the balls a few at a time, turning regularly until all sides are golden brown.
- Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Serve, topped with a few cracks of fresh sea salt or even better, Secret Stash Salt’s Chipotle Salt or Chorizo Salt.
Notes: The original recipe called for butter and milk but when I tried that, the mixture was exceedingly soft. I had problems even rolling the sweet potato mix into balls. The second time I made them, I used the smallest egg I could find, increased the flour, and omitted the milk and the butter. That, plus the chilling of the sweet potato mixture helped the balls stay together long enough for me to roll them in the bread crumbs without them falling apart.
Cooking the balls was a little bit tricky though. Once they warm up due to the heat of the frying, they soften enough that you need to be very careful turning them. I used a slotted spoon and a silicon spatula and I still had a couple of balls break up while cooking. But if you’re lucky enough to have them stay together, or you don’t mind adding some potato starch to the mix to firm up the potato mix, or you don’t care that these are perfectly shaped balls when finished, the flavor of these is absolutely worth it. The panko is brown and crispy and the insides are smooth and sweet. The red onion (a sweet onion would be excellent as well) gives the sweet potato balls a little bite and the pinch of cayenne provides a bit of heat. So if you’re a bit adventurous, and aren’t too concerned with your balls being perfectly round, please make this recipe. The flavor is completely worth it.
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