Sunday, April 24, 2005

IMBB#14: Orange You Hungry? Sweet Potato Rolls with Chili & Cheese

Whew! Busy weekend, neh? SHF over and done, we promptly proceeded to the month of April's Is My Blog Burning? event! And color me Orange, Ladygoat over at Foodgoat (or is it both of them? Hmm...) asked us all "Orange you hungry?"

I started out thinking I had to do something with oranges, but nooooo - this is the first color-coordinated IMBB-event, and you could use any kind of ingredient or dish that would turn out orange for your entry. I've done colored (green and yellow) dinners for my Food Club girlfriends a couple of times, so I can't wait to see how this turns out - it has got to be one of the editions that will show the greatest diversity of recipes!

On to the matter at heart, I chose sweet potatoes as my ingredient. The orange variety, naturally, even though I had some problems finding them - they're not used that much around this hood (so much for Danish cooking, eih? Hold your horses, we'll get there!:-)).

I wanted to do something that I served all the time when I worked at Bali Sugar in London. We served all kinds of flavored rolls, fennel seeds, scezhuan pepper, plantain etc. - but people were always mesmerized by the bright orange one in the basket: the sweet potato roll.

Luckily the recipe is in The Sugar Club cookbook, and I've tried it before. This time I went ahead and did a little substituting and adding and adapted it to rise overnight in the fridge - and got this:

Sweet Potato Rolls with Chili & Cheese - adapted from The Sugar Club Cookbook by Peter Gordon

500 g. sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
400 ml. milk
10 g. fresh yeast (I think the equivalent would be around 1½ teaspoon dried yeast?) dissolved in 50 ml. warm water
Flour - I used about 200 g. sifted spelt flour and um... just enough regular white flour!
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 handfuls of grated cheese (I used a mild cheddar) - you could probably up the amount to 3 handfuls of a stronger cheese, if you were so inclined.
Chili flakes for the tops

Makes 14

Put the sweet potato and milk in a pot, put the lid on and bring to the boil. Cook until the potato is done, then remove the lid and boil until the milk has reduced by half. This will mush up the potatoes somewhat, but I still choose to strain them, reserving the liquid. Then I proceeded to puré the potatoes with an immersing blender (is that the word? The "blender-on-a-stick", if you know what I mean?), adding enough liquid to make it into a smooth paste. If you like chunks in the rolls, leave this part out, and just use it as is - I suppose a lot of the chunks will dissolve when you knead the dough anyways. Let the puré cool.

Add the yeast to the cool potato puré, then add the salt. Add enough flour to make a moist, but not sticky dough. The original recipe calls for 800 g of flour, but I have no idea exactly how much I used - start by adding about 500 grams, then go from there. Knead, knead, knead. Add the cheese last.

Shape the dough into a ball, put it in an oiled bowl and turn it over to coat. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave it overnight in the fridge. I think mine waited about 14 hours, but 2-3 hours less shouldn't make a difference.

The next morning, punch (no, don't knock it! Gently deflate it!;-)) down the dough, roll it into a sausage shape, then cut it into similarly sized slices - I got 14. Shape the slices into rolls - first make a rough ball-shaped thing, then cup your hand on top of the roll, letting your fingertips touch the table and moving the ball around underneath your cupped palm. This will give you perfectly shaped rolls - if that explanation makes any sense!

Leave to rise for 2 hours - one is enough if your hungry. Preheat your oven to 175 C. Brush with a little water, sprinkle chili flakes on top, then bake for about 15 minutes. Leave on a rack to cool slightly, or eat as soon as they're out of the oven. Or eat three within the first 2 hours after they've come out of the oven...:-)

The cheese-taste could be more pronounced, but they have a slightly sweet taste from the sweet potato, and a nice kick from the chili on top - and a FABULOUS orange color! Next time I might try adding a little chili flakes to the dough, as they get a little bit hot whenever you bite into a single flake on top - at least it would be masked in the dough the other way. Maybe chili powder? Must think about that one. They're soft rolls, and perfect for accompanying a dinner of, say roast tiger shrimps with mayo and a tomato/rocket/pine nut salad, like we did!

Now I have to check out all the other contributions - the next Food Club Dinner shall be ORANGE!


Brian W said...

You were close with immersing blender--it's immersion blender.

The rolls look lovely, great pictures. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Cathy said...

ooh - another one I have to try! Beautiful rolls Zarah!!

Ana said...

Zarah, those rolls are so unusual. I'll certainly try them, without the chili peppers and with lots of butter meltin...

Melissa said...

Beautiful rolls Zarah! What an unusual use of the humble sweet potato. What did you eat them with? I bet they'd be fantastic with soup, or how about a big bowl of spicy chili...? I would even be tempted to put jam on them and eat them for breakfast!

Alice said...

Oh my goodness...those look SO wonderful!! I have got to try those!

chronicler said...

Zarah, you've done it again! super entry!

Barbara Fisher said...

Looking really good, Zarah.

At one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Columbus, they make sweet steamed buns filled with lotus seed paste mixed with sweet potato puree. They are really, really good. My first attempt at recreating them didn't turn out so well, so I will have to give it another shot sometime soon. They are delicious.

I think, however, I will try your rolls first. The chile, cheese and sweet potato combination just sound too good to pass up.

Rachel said...

Zarah, those rolls are calling to me! I love potato rolls, but I've never seen a sweet potato version--definitely looks pretty and I can just imagine how delicious they would be. Mmmm, I just ate dinner but now I'd give anything for a bite!

Gemma said...

Zarah! These look fantastic! I will be trying my hand at the recipe soon. Great job, they look delicious.

Stephanie said...

Ok, these rolls are gorgeous. I've printed out the recipe, and even Matt...who's not a big sweet potato fan...will like them.

Nice job!

keiko said...

Zarah - I want to have this for lunch! Every day! It looks so sweet.

Zarah Maria said...

Thanks for all of your nice comments! They really are nice rolls - I'm glad I did double portion of the puré and froze half - it's just waiting to be put into a new batch. I've had them for both breakfast, lunch and dinner so far, and they worked beautifully for all of them!

Andrea said...

Very cute! These will be delicious for my next picnic. Thanks.

cookie jill said...

Oh...yummy! ;-)

JourneyGirl said...


These are beautiful and I can absolutely see how the restaurant patrons could be mesmerized by the color. Are they a denser roll or more of the light and fluffy variety? I know its gauche, but I could so see serving these at a super bowl party along with some chili cheese dip and buffalo wings.

I'm going to put this in my 'to-try' file - thanks!

Karen said...

We have an abundance of sweet potatoes here but these rolls seem unknown in these parts! Thanks for sharing this Zarah, I'll definitely try this recipe.