Some Chinese Sweet Potato RecipesIndeed, sweet potatoes do not seem to occupy prominent places in Chinese cookbooks that I have seen. (In fact, potatoes of any kind aren’t prominent.) But I have these recipes, which suggests that in main dish-type cooking, sweet potatoes are used mostly in braises, and with meats that pair with sweet things (duck and pork). I have made the first two and thought they were pretty good:
Fragrant Duck, Braised with Sweet Potatoes
1 duck, boned & cut up¼ tsp powdered anise seed
2 large sweet potatoes1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic (mashed)1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp minced fresh ginger1 cup chicken stock
¼ tsp cinnamoncornstarch
¼ tsp ground clovescornstarch binder
Pare the sweet potatoes, cut in chunks (about ½”), roll in cornstarch and deep-fry until golden. Drain and keep warm.
Heat a little oil in a wok or skillet, add the garlic, ginger, and duck meat. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with the spices, add the soy sauce, sugar, and stock. Cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the duck is tender. Thicken the sauce with the cornstarch binder.
Curried Tenderloin of Pork, Braised with Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes1 tbsp soy sauce
1 lb. pork tenderloin1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp. minced ginger1 cup stock
1 small onion, thinly slicedcornstarch binder
Pare the sweet potatoes and cut into ½” thick slices. Fry in deep fat until golden (about 5 min.). Drain.
Cut the pork into cubes (1” or so). Saute with the ginger and onion until browned. Add the soy sauce and season with salt (optional), and pepper. Add the curry powder and the stock. Stir well, then add the deep-fried sweet potatoes.
Cover and stew slowly until the pork is cooked. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch binder, if necessary.
Sweet Potato Dumplings
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, pared and
thinly slicedFilling mixture:
6 tbsps. lard1 ½ tbsp. sweet red bean paste
1 ½ cups sifted cornstarch¼ cup shredded coconut
2 tbsps powdered sugar¼ cup minced candied orange peel
½ cup sesame seeds½ tsp vanilla
Oil for deep frying
Steam the sweet potatoes until tender. Drain well, and puree, to equal 3 cups. If not dry enough to make a paste, heat until the excess moisture is absorbed. Add the lard, cornstarch, and sugar to make a smooth dough. If too moist, add more cornstarch.
Combine all filling ingredients and set aside.
Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into an 18” log. Cut into 1” pieces, flatten into a 3” circle, put a bit of filling on each piece, and fold around the filling to make a cylinder.
Moisten each dumpling with water, press into sesame seeds to coat, and deep fry at 350 F. until light brown and crisp. Drain & serve.
[I haven’t made this last one, and the directions seem to be a bit light on filling for the amount of dough, but one could always multiply the filling recipe.]