Ideas lurk everywhere. The other day I was at my son’s classmate’s house after school as the kids wanted to play and I was hanging around in the kitchen with the parents, drinking tea and chatting up. The dad was preparing an early dinner and one of the dishes was a savoury starchy bake using potatoes and sweet potatoes.
I’m not a big fan of sweet potatoes, but I’ve always loved the Tamil style sweet potato stir fry curry with sambar-rice or in desserts (yes, brownies!) or randomly in some other dishes. I find that sweet potatoes that we get here need a lot of flavour boost to taste great.
This time, I wanted to try out a savoury bake with them. I had noticed our friend preparing a kind of béchamel sauce to go on top of the layered sweet potatoes, topped with cheese.
But since we had no cheese at home, I had to improvise with something else. And that’s how the peanut crumb happened. It did provide a fantastic texture to the otherwise melty dish, not to mention upping the protein content of the dish.
Recipe for Savoury Sweet Potato Bake
Savoury sweet potato bake with a peanut crumb
- 2 sweet potatoes medium sized
- 1/2 cup green peas fresh or frozen
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1.5 tbsps flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp rosemary dried , crushed
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
- 1 - 2 tsps black pepper freshly ground
- 1/3 cup peanuts roasted , skins removed
- salted peanuts you could use ready available roasted too
- Preheat oven at 180 C.
- In a large pan, bring 2 litres water to a boil with 1 tsp salt.
- In a mixer / food processor pulse the peanuts till coarsely crumbed.
- Meanwhile, scrub the sweet potatoes well with a scrubber and lots of water to remove all the soil. Do not peel. Finely slice them, and add them to the boiling water. Add the peas too.
- Check in 4 minutes, if they are partially cooked. If yes, drain the water in a colander and keep aside the veggies.
- In a saucepan, heat butter. Add flour and make a 'roux' until all the flour is absorbed in the butter and turns lightly aromatic. Add the milk with constant whisking. If a few lumps remain, it's okay with this dish. Add the salt, dried rosemary, pepper and nutmeg.
- Lightly grease a mid-sized baking dish. Place the partly cooked sweet potato slices and peas, gently flattening them down. Sprinkle some pepper over the top.
- Add the sauce, lightly smoothening it out with a spatula.
- Top with peanut crumbs.
- Place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes or so.
- Serve warm with a salad or a soup.