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Friday, November 5, 2010
SHAKARKANDI : WHAT IS SHAKARKANDI? SWEET POTATOES: MEDLEY OF VEGETABLES WITH SWEET POTATO RECIPE
Sweet potatoes have been cultivated on the South American continent since 2500 BC and are now grown in many countries. There are more than 400 varieties which range in colour from white through to a deep orange, depending on the beta-carotene content of the variety. They are sometimes erroneously called yams, but the yam is a member of the Dioscoreae family and the sweet potato is a member of the convolvulus family, and this can be seen in the upper part of the plant which is a creeper.
You will be glad to know that these tasty vegetables are good for you as long as you are not overweight. They contain beta-carotene which produces vitamin A in the body and vitamin C, both powerful antioxidants which can eliminate free radicals, the chemicals which damage the cells and their membranes and are associated with colon cancer, atherosclerosis and heart disease associated with diabetes. They are also anti-inflammatory so are good in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and asthma.
They are good for smokers to eat too as they contain vitamin B6 and along with the vitamin A they produce, can help prevent smoking-related diseases such as emphysema. They also contain the minerals iron, manganese, copper, potassium and have a high fibre content. Eating them can also help your skin and keep it pimple free as the vitamin A they create in the body helps new skin cells grow and keeps skin looking young and healthy. They boost the immune system too and the white-skinned variety has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in type-2 diabetes sufferers as it decreases insulin levels in the body.
Christopher Columbus took these to Europe in 1492, along with the common potato, and the Spaniards introduced them to the Philippines. The Portuguese explorers later took them to Africa, India, Indonesia and southern Asia. In the 16th century they were cultivated in North America too.
A good use for a sweet potato is to bake one and then puree it with bananas, maple syrup and cinnamon then top the puree with chopped walnuts-tasty and healthy. They retain their nutritional content better if baked, roasted or steamed rather than boiled. You can roast them in a fire wrapped in foil too. If you do this you can make a sauce with imli (tamarind), lemon juice and salt and pepper in a little water, cook for 10-15 mins.
MEDLEY OF VEGETABLES WITH SWEET POTATO
1 sweet potato (orange) chopped
1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 red onion, sliced
½ bulb of garlic
1 sprig rosemary
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
4 tbsps olive oil
Make a packet of all ingredients with the foil and put the garlic in a separate packet of foil.
Make sure all the vegetables and herbs are coated with oil and if desired, add a little white wine. Close the packets and bake in a moderate oven for an hour.
This is a side dish, to make more, use the same quantities in separate foil parcels.
This has Taste and is a Treat.