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Day 69: Sweet Potato Fries

For the past week, W has been begging for “chepah” (translation: ketchup) almost constantly. No, nothing to dip into ketchup, just a bowl straight-up, please. When you consider that ketchup contains more sugar than ice cream does, it’s no wonder why.

Awhile ago we went for lunch at the home of two little girls, and when her mom wasn’t looking, the 4 year old flipped open the lid of the Heinz ketchup squeeze bottle and took a swig. Willem just stared, in total awe. I’m pretty sure he fell in love for the first time at that moment.

So this afternoon I made some yam fries to justify providing him with his beloved chepah. Conveniently, someone just asked for a recipe for sweet potato fries. Does this mean I’m now taking requests?

In case you’re wondering, yams and sweet potatoes are very similar – the only difference is that yams have a darker flesh, and sweet potatoes have a more flesh-colored flesh. They are very often mislabeled in grocery stores though, so you may end up with one instead of the other. Yams are usually bigger around, with darker flesh (choose these – more beta carotene) and sweet potatoes narrower, with paler flesh. Really they are just two different varieties of sweet potato.

So now for the recipe. You don’t really need a recipe per se to make sweet potato fries, just a few tips.

1) slice your sweet potato, without peeling it, into fry shapes or into quarters and then slices – this is easier to do if you want them to be consistent.

2) drizzle some canola oil on a rimmed cookie sheet and put it in the oven. Turn the oven on to 400-450F – either will work, or anything in between.

3) when the oven is hot, take the pan out and spread out the sweet potatoes on it, tossing them about carefully to get them more or less coated in oil. The combination of hot pan, hot oil will keep them from sticking, just like it does on the stovetop. Make sure that they aren’t too crowded, or they will steam instead of browning properly.

4) bake them for 20 minutes or so (really depending on the thickness of the fries and how hot your oven is), tossing them around and flipping them once or twice, until golden. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

5) serve with plenty of chepah.


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4 comments on “Day 69: Sweet Potato Fries

  1. Dana
    March 10, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Hey Julie,

    I hate to contradict a friend but yams and sweet potatoes are actually very different indeed. What you describe are actually just two different varieities of sweet potato.

    True yams are a Carribean vegetable that contain much more starch than sweet potatoes. They can’t be used interchangabley and we rarely get them in Canada except at specialty markets and Carribean stores.

    I once wrote an article about these differences and, if you like, can dig it out to share with you. The story about how the names became mixed up is quite interesting but long.

  2. JulieVR
    March 10, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Yes, good point! True yams are enormous too, but I’m just referring to the “yams” we get in Canada – those that are labelled as yams in all the grocery stores and produce markets across the country. Even though they are often mislabelled.

  3. Dana
    March 11, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Gotcha! I just like to be super careful with names. : )

  4. Cate
    May 7, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Just discovered your blog. I am in the UK. I made sweet potato fries the other day for the first time and made a dip with plain yogurt, lime juice and cumin to serve with it. Found that recipe on another blog. So delish. I have also just discovered roasting cauliflower and also made some of that which also married well with the dip.

    I have saved several of your recipes already to try. Thanks.

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