It’s Day 9 of the Paleo Iron Chef competition. Today’s not-so-secret ingredient is Sweet Potatoes.
Oh, be still my heart.
Sweet potatoes are my favorite tubers and, as you know if you’ve been reading here any time at all, Japanese sweets are my favorite of my favorite. Japanese sweet potatoes are characterized by purple skin, yellow flesh, a very starchy texture and a rich, yet exceptionally sweet, taste.
Gawd help me, I love ‘em.
At any rate, I’ve been intrigued with the idea of making homemade tater tots for quite some time. There are actually a ton of recipes for them on the internet – mostly for white potatoes, although there are some using sweet potatoes, and most of those recipes call for significant amounts of wheat flour as a binder. I already knew I was going to use the Japanese sweets (since they’re the kind I buy these days), and since they have a pretty starchy texture when they’re cooked, figured I wouldn’t have to use much in the way of a binder. In hindsight, I probably could have left out the small amount of tapioca starch I used. I don’t know how using a regular sweet potato would work, so if that’s all you have, you may want to keep the starch and even increase the amount if you need to.
Oh, and these? Were marvelous – I haven’t enjoyed tater tots as much as I did these since I was a kid.
Notes: I used one large potato that weighed just over a pound for 3 servings (no, the servings are not huge, but these are tater tots, after all). I used a measuring spoon to scoop the potato mixture – each tot was a heaping tablespoon.
- 1 large Japanese sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2″ pieces
- 2 tablespoons finely minced onion
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- few grinds black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 – 3 cups lard or tallow
- Bring 2 quarts water to a boil; add the potato and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the potato and add to a large bowl of ice water for 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander and allow to drain for 10 minutes.
- Transfer half the potato to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until broken down into small, rough pieces (about eight 1-second pulses). The mixture will be sticky; scrape into a large mixing bowl and repeat with the remaining potato. Add to the first batch in the mixing bowl.
- Gently stir the onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder and tapioca starch into the potato until well combined. With lightly oiled hands, shape the mixture into 21 cylinders about 3/4″ wide and 1″ long. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet or dish until ready to fry.
- In a medium-sized, heavy skillet heat the lard to 350 F. Add half the tater tots to the hot fat and fry until golden brown and crisp, turning as needed. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; repeat with the remaining tater tots. Season immediately with salt and serve hot.
- Nutrition (per serving): 208 calories, 17.1g total fat, 16.2mg cholesterol, 495mg sodium, 168.2mg potassium, 12.5g carbohydrates, 1.5g fiber, 2.1g sugar, <1g protein