BACANA MAGAZINE hotel occidental punta cana
BACANA MAGAZINE hotel occidental punta cana
BACANA MAGAZINE hotel occidental punta cana
BACANA MAGAZINE hotel occidental punta cana
Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato or Potato. The semantics of a tuber

From the fun afterpains surrounding the discovery of the new world, perhaps the funniest, the most tangled (leaving aside the erroneous geolocation which confused the Indies for America) is the one surrounding the humble sweet potato.


Found in Haitian land on the first voyage of Columbus to the tuber since the beginning all was trouble. It was christened the Taino word “batata”, but across the pond and erroneously the name was all one. For some reason the voiceless bilabial “b” was changed by the noisy “p” (rare case, since it usually happens the other way around), becoming known to Hispanic lands as “patata”.


The “Malaga Potato” which St. Teresa referred to, was not that at all. Actually-and unknowingly-the food which the saint loved and praised, were some yams (sweet potatoes) that a faithful devotee sent her from Seville. Even the most illustrious writers of the Golden era fell in erroneous semantics and Cervantes or Lope de Vega feed the boilers of his characters with “sweet potato” when in the menu it is written “potato”. Only Góngora – with dictionary in hand – uses it with academic property.


And it’s because the real “potato” comes to Europe much later and is not used as a food ingredient until the eighteenth century, when, because of the terrible famine-its consumption became popular.


Although they share the name, the two tubers have little in common, because aside from the fact that they grow underground, they don’t even belong to the same family. With a history of over 10,000 years, domestication and cultivation of yams began about 2,500 BC as part of the entire Mesoamerican diet. There are two distinct types, one white with drier pulp and another yellow and mealier, high in sugar and starch. This convolvulaceae is the most nutritious tubers of the plant kingdom, with high concentrations of carotene and vitamin A and C. Potassium, calcium, folic acid, magnesium and other proteins are other nutritional properties only comparable to its fantastic versatility in the kitchen.


And to top off the semantic issue, know that if “potato” was “sweet potato” in the Spanish of the Golden Age, “sweet potato” is “potato” in the current Portuguese.









We will use

For the gnocchi: 2 lb white sweet potatoes, ¾ cup of flour; 100g grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, ½ cup melted butter, salt.


We will prepare it like this

For the gnocchi: wrap whole sweet potatoes in foil and bake at 350°F. When cooked, removed the foil, put them in a bowl and mash to a smooth puree. Add the flour, Parmesan, egg and butter. We work it to obtain an elastic dough. Roll it into 1 inch thick rolls and cut into portions 1 inch wide to form the gnocchi.

Serve with a base of sweet guava and sage pesto.




We will use

For the chicken: 4 white sweet potatoes, 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, juice of 1 lemon, 4 tablespoons of liquid caramel, salt.


We will prepare it like this

For chicken: peel and cut the sweet potatoes into sticks. Boil in salted water. We remove and drain them halfway through. In a wok or nonstick skillet with oil, cook the thighs on all sides until it is crispy, add the garlic until brown. Add the peppercorns, lemon juice and caramel and salt. Cook together, stirring until all ingredients caramelize.

Serve with boiled baby carrots and grilled mini-eggplant.






We will use

For the fritters: 1 cup cooked sweet potato, ½ cup of cake flour, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 2 tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt, 3 tablespoons of water from the cooked sweet potatoes.


We will prepare it like this

For the fritters: peel and boil the potatoes in water about 25 minutes. Drain them and reserve 3 tablespoons of the water. We put the sweet potatoes in a bowl and mash them. Take a cup of puree and add the flour. Mix well. Add the egg, baking powder, sugar, salt and water reserved. Mix with a spatula to obtain a consistent and homogeneous dough. Let it rest for half an hour and fry in plenty of oil.

Serve the sweet potato fritters on a bamboo stick with a berry jam and mint syrup.

TEXT E IMAGES: Kiko Casals This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. twitter: KikoCasals

Tags: Gastronomy

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