I did not grow up eating potato pancakes, however, there are few things my son loves more than Okinawan sweet potato and pancakes. I am always trying to find new ways to prepare (the few) nutritious vegetables he enjoys, so I decided to see if I could come up with a recipe that everyone would like, but especially him. Crisp on the outside, tender in the middle, these are naturally sweet and a bit addictive. My son enjoyed these plain, while the adults got the added bonus of a subtly spiced dollop of chipotle crème fraiche. Enjoy these hot. —gingerroot
makes about 24 silver dollar sized potato pancakes
medium sized sweet onion, such as Maui, small if using Vidalia, or Walla Walla, papery skin removed
large or 2 small Okinawan (purple) sweet potato(es)
large egg, beaten
Mochiko sweet rice flour
Freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil for frying
For spiced crème fraiche
crème fraiche (can substitute sour cream)
Squeeze of lime from a thin wedge (about 1/2 teaspoon)
adobo sauce from chipotle in adobo
Sea salt to taste
In This Recipe
Trim one end of your onion. Coarsely grate onion into a colander set over a pie plate. I had about 1/3 cup, packed. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon and press down on the onion to release as much liquid as possible.
Trim one end of your Okinawan sweet potato. Use a vegetable peeler to remove skin and discard. Coarsely grate into colander with onion and watch the beautiful purple-white flesh oxidize to grey-brown (no matter, it will still be delicious). I got 2 ½ cups.
Repeat with the carrot. Peel, trim, grate. I got 1 cup.
Press down on grated vegetables with masher or spoon. Wrap grated vegetables in a paper towel and lightly squeeze to remove additional liquid.
Add a good pinch of sea salt, beaten egg, rice flour, chopped chives and black pepper. Stir to combine. Mixture should be sticky, just holding together.
Since you want to eat these hot, now is a good time to make your spiced crème fraiche. Mix crème fraiche, squeeze of lime (about ½ t), and chipotle sauce in a bowl. Add salt to taste. Set aside.
In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil until it shimmers over medium heat. You only want enough to coat the bottom when the pan is hot (about 2 T for a 12-inch skillet). Have a plate lined with paper towels ready near your skillet.
Working in batches, drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture into the hot skillet. Immediately invert tablespoon and *gently* press down on the top of the mixture to slightly flatten and make a silver dollar sized pancake. I was able to cook seven or eight in my skillet at a time. Cook about two minutes a side, carefully flipping, until crisp and browned. Since these do not have a lot of binding, I found that a fork worked best for this. Allow cooked pancakes to drain on lined plate. Repeat until finished, although send hot, drained pancakes to the table to be enjoyed while still hot. Serve with a dollop or two of spiced crème fraiche.
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.