When I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to refuse food. I distinctly recall a time we were eating a meal at my aunt’s house. A platter of some vegetable I don’t recall was being passed to me and I said ‘no thank you’, to which my mother subsequently plopped a large heap of them on my plate. She felt it was rude to not eat the food that people had lovingly prepared for you, and, that if I didn’t try everything presented to me, I wouldn’t have a varied palate. I am grateful for this now, much different than my feelings then.
I tried to teach my children the same thing. I wanted them to experience foods as they grew and their palates changed, and mostly, never to insult people by refusing their food simply out of preference. I recall some parents bringing a separate meal to my home when their family came for dinner, because, ‘the kids really only like chicken nuggets and fries’. I vowed never to limit my children in the same way. Plus, there was no way I was making two meals in my house every night.
Sweet potato is not one of my favorite vegetables, but of course I ate it many different ways growing up when it was presented to me. Being the mom who plans the meals, it means I don’t often make foods that don’t interest me. So when my son recently told me he loved sweet potato, I was surprised. I’m not really sure where this love came from, probably from him eating something at Grandma’s house (she’s still a cooking machine at 82) and loving it.
My mom has made potato pancakes for long as I can remember. It was always a quick meal to her: grated potatoes, diced onion, egg to bind and seasoning. Fried and served with a dollop of sour cream. Simple yet delicious. So when my son asked for sweet potato, that’s the first thing I thought of.
These sweet potato cakes are quite delicious. They are packed with flavor, bright and easy to whip up. They would also make a great appetizer or hors d’oeuvre. You can make them earlier in the day and keep them covered in the refrigerator, and then fry them up quickly later. They’re a refreshing way to eat your veggies!
Sweet Potato Cakes
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes
- 1.2 cup corn kernels
- 2 green onions
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 3 cloves garlic
Cook the sweet potatoes. You can either microwave or boil them. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them open and scoop the flesh into a large bowl.
Slice the green onions and chop the cilantro. Add the green onions, cilantro, corn, salt, cumin, cayenne, breadcrumbs, cornmeal, and egg. Stir until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While potato mixture is resting, make garlic sauce. Combine yogurt, garlic, and handful of cilantro. Stir until combined and refrigerate.
Remove potato mixture from refrigerator. Shape into small patties. Heat oil in a skillet. Cook patties until golden brown on each side, about 2/3 minutes per side. Remove from skillet, let excess oil drain on paper towel lined plate.
Adapted from: Budget Bytes