Caribbean Sweet Potato Patties with Spicy Coconut and Spinach Sauce

31 Aug

I was looking for recipes containing scotch bonnet chilli peppers because our plant is producing more chillis than we can cope with at the moment. Apart from making more of my Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce, I am trying to find ways of including them in every meal.

I found a Trinidadian recipe for crab cakes that were coated in grated sweet potato and served with a Callaloo sauce. Callaloo is a popular Caribbean stew or soup of West African origin made with leafy greens called Callaloo or Taro that are similar to kale and spinach. There are many different versions but in Trinidad they use coconut milk, okra and peppers as well as the greens. In Jamaica they use tomatoes and spring onions. The African-American dish Collard Greens is also a version of Callaloo.

In this recipe the callaloo is blended to make a smooth sauce to serve with the cakes. I omitted the crab (obviously) and used roasted and mashed sweet potato as the base for the cakes mixed with Caribbean herbs and spices and our lovely scotch bonnets for heat.

Caribbean Sweet Potato Cakes with Callaloo Sauce

Serves 2-3. Vegan, Gluten-free.

For the cakes:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1″ cubes (550gr)
  • 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • whole bulb of fresh garlic (outer leaves peeled off but still held together)
  • 1 or 2 scotch bonnets chillies, deseeded & chopped
  • 3 spring onions/scallions, chopped
  • salt & black pepper
  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • the zest of 1/2 a lime
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 200C. On a lined baking tray, toss the sweet potato cubes with the olive oil, allspice, cumin, dried thyme, chilli flakes salt & pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes until soft. Roast the head of garlic at the same time.

Mash the sweet potato in a bowl with half of the roasted garlic cloves that have been squeezed out of their skins. Cook the spring onions and scotch bonnets with a pinch of salt,  in a little oil for a few minutes until softened. Stir this into the potatoes with the chopped coriander and lime zest. Check for seasoning, add more salt or lime zest if necessary. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge while you make the sauce.

For the Callaloo Sauce:

  • 1 tin coconut milk, 400 ml
  • 100-150 g fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • the rest of the roasted garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli (whole)
  • 1 green or red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs, whole
  • salt & black pepper
  • the juice of 1/2 a lime
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus extra for garnish

Put everything except lime juice & coriander in a med-large saucepan, season with salt & pepper and bring to the boil stirring to wilt the spinach. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 20-25  minutes, then remove the whole scotch bonnet (don’t throw it away) and thyme sprigs.

Carefully blend with a stick blender (cover with a towel) or in a food processor until smooth. Taste, if it is not hot enough cut the flesh from the scotch bonnet and add that to the sauce and blend again. Add the lime juice and chopped coriander and taste for seasoning, add more salt if necessary.

Pour the sauce back into the saucepan and keep warm while you cook the cakes.

Shape the sweet potato mix into 6 patties or smaller ones for canapes if you like. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium high heat. when the oil is hot add the cakes to the pan and cook for a about 2 minutes on each side until browned and crispy.

Pour enough sauce into your dishes to cover the base and top with 2 or 3 cakes. Sprinkle with some fresh coriander and serve with extra lime wedges to squeeze over.

We served this with a side of Caribbean Chargrilled Sweetcorn to carry on with the theme.

I am writing this listening to helicopters and light aircraft flying low over our house. Last night a friend, Andrew rang me at about to say that he could see lots of smoke coming from the mountains where we live. He was staying in his house across the valley at the time. I walked upstairs and opened the door onto the outside terrace and was greeted by huge plumes of orange smoke coming from the mountains in at the edge of our town. The view from the roof terrace was even worse and confirmed our fears.

The Barranco Blanco valley was on fire.

Totally unbelievable and shocking photographs started to appear on social networking sites as we heard about thousands of people being evacuated from their homes.

The fire was spreading rapidly, helped by the wind conditions, down the valley towards the coast. Friends of our were extremely worried about a dog rescue centre that was in great danger. Many people came to help and all 300 dogs were helped to safety along the riverbed towards Fuengirola before the fire reached them.

Our thoughts are with the families whose homes have been damaged or destroyed and we hope beyond all hope that this tragedy was not premeditated.

The area affected is one of the areas where we walk with dog. This morning we went out with heavy hearts to see if some of our favourite beauty spots were still there. Thankfully our favourite hill where we love to sit and look down to the coast has only been blackened on one side. The other side is as yet untouched, the firebreaks actually worked.

The whole valley is devastated, all the wildlife and plants destroyed. This is how it looked before.

Looking through all the photos of how it looked before is really upsetting. Rufus on top of the world….

Stay Safe Everyone

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25 Responses to “Caribbean Sweet Potato Patties with Spicy Coconut and Spinach Sauce”

  1. Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere August 31, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Beautiful pictures, the sweet potato cakes look amazing.

  2. kellie@foodtoglow August 31, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    I didn’t realise how close you are to the fires. How frightening! And the last I heard is that it is still raging and spreading, with evacuations. I hope everything is pointing away from you, bar the singed hill. On a happier note, this recipe sounds stupendous Natalie, truly scrummy. I will be bookmarking it, and looking out your scotch bonnet sauce – love spicy foods. I can’t say we are growing any chillies this year but we have a great local store that supplies that kind of thing (as well as lots of Polish stuff too!). Stay safe, my friend. You aren’t coming over for Food Blogger Connect London by any chance? Would love to meet you if you are.

  3. Marianne August 31, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    This recipe looks amazing Natalie – I must give it a try.

    I have been hearing about the devastating fires all day. I am on the eastern Costa so all is well here. Your amazing photographs look a little too close for comfort. I truly hope that things are now settling down, that the fires are indeed under control as reported on TV and that everyone you know is safe.

    A few years ago before we bought our house in the campo, we lived in the village of Frigiliana and one night I can remember watching fires in the distance too. Nowhere near as close as yours were last night, but still frightening nonetheless.

    Take care
    Marianne

  4. The Seas Of Mintaka August 31, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    I’m so glad that you are okay and not affected by the fires. I suppose the only consolation (if there is one) is that everything will eventually grow back. I love your callaloo sauce, I love anything with coconut in it. Cheers, Natalie!

  5. frugalfeeding September 1, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    Sweet potato patties always work really well and these look wonderful, but it’s the sauce that really does it for me here – it sounds absolutely delicious!

  6. Three Well Beings September 1, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    I frequently comment that we have the “same” climate conditions. Very similar, and we are moving into fire season. I have some experience with how frightening it can be, although we’ve never had them get as close as your pictures indicate they are to you. Very disturbing to see and oh so sad! The recipe is a delight, though, Natalie! I love the sweet potato substitution. Very creative! Debra

  7. dassana September 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    the sauce and the cakes… everything is delicious.

    nice to read that the dogs were rescued. my prayers go to the families whose homes were destroyed. i hope and pray everyone is safe and sound there.

    • Daniela @ FoodRecipesHQ September 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      I recenlty made sweet potato burgers with aubergine. I want to improve my recipe, I’ll follow your instructions!

  8. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide September 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Good to see Rufus, tough to see all those other photos. On a different note, you are always so inventive and have the best sources of inspiration. These look amazing. Stay safe.

  9. peasepudding September 9, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    I can totally see me making these for the BBQ this summer, just get the sauce made in advance. Sorry to here about the fire, always scary in the dry countries, glad your OK

  10. The Mistress of Spices September 29, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    As always when I visit your blog, I want to run into the kitchen and make this ASAP! I love everything about this recipe, especially the callaloo sauce. Can’t wait to try it!

  11. The Mistress of Spices September 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    So as per my earlier comment…I did end up running into the kitchen and making this right away! I used Japanese pumpkin instead of sweet potato and served the cakes over some Jamaican-style lentils rather than the spinach sauce. It was absolutely delicious, and both my husband and I loved the cakes! They’ll definitely be a regular item in our house, and I’ll try the spinach sauce next time. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Natalie Ward September 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      So glad you loved them as much as we did and thanks for letting me know, it’s always nice to hear!! x

      • JENNIFER WALLACE January 21, 2013 at 7:12 am #

        i wanted to lick the bowl!!!!! So good-made it with the corn too. Thank you!!!!!

  12. Debra February 15, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    Hi Natalie, I love these and have made them twice now! I’m hosting some vegetarians for dinner next week and would like to make this the main attraction – any chance you could share some ideas on a few other dishes (simple, I’ll be in a vacation kitchen!) to round out the meal? No pressure if you are too busy. Thanks!!! Debra

  13. thehealthythali June 8, 2013 at 12:14 am #

    This looks delicious! Going to try it this weekend!

  14. leroywatson4 July 27, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    Amazing post, how dramatic! Lovely looking patties also, I love roasted sweet potato. Take it easy, lee

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