Baked Sweet Potatoes with West African-style Peanut Sauce

I planned to bake the sweet potatoes in the crock pot today, but I didn’t manage to get my act together this morning.  That was fine. It gave me time to do some work and walk the dog while the potatoes baked.  Putting the sauce together takes about 10 minutes so this is a quick dinner.  And it’s low calorie, so that’s good. But as the photo below reveals, it doesn’t look very good.  I think that might be because it isn’t very good.  It’s not throw-in-the-trash-and-order-a-pizza bad, but still.  Not so good.

I did follow the recipe, including measuring the spices.  I used creamy peanut butter because I don’t keep anything else in the house and the recipe didn’t specify.  Now, in the interest of full disclosure I should tell you that ground coriander is not one of my favorite flavors and there’s a lot of it in here.  Maybe if I’d cut back on that it would have helped.  I also found that while the cumin adds a nice earthiness and the red pepper adds a nice heat, the sweetness of the peanut butter and the sweetness of the sweet potato are too close to be very interesting.  I found myself adding a lot more salt than they called for just to give my palate a little variety.  I also added some crushed, salted, roasted Virginia peanuts and they were a nice addition. Maybe the sauce would be good as a gravy on mashed white potatoes.

The sauce did grow on me as I ate.  I did eat my whole potato. But that’s the end of that. I’ll eat the other baked sweet potato another night, but not with this sauce on it. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever make it again.

Good? Not especially.
Easy? Absolutely.
Good for company? Not if you want them to come back.
Special shopping? Nope. All stuff I had in the house.

Baked Sweet Potatoes with West African-style Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

6 medium sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Pierce potatoes with a fork, and bake at 375° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool potatoes slightly.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; cook 3 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup water and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring until smooth; bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes or until thick.

Split potatoes lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Spoon about 1/4 cup sauce into each potato. Top each serving with 1 teaspoon cilantro.

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