Hasselback Sweet Potatoes in Black Bean Szechuan Sauce

It has been a busy couple of months and unfortunately I haven’t been cooking as enthusiastically as usual. Working on your feet all day can often just make you want to sit down with a glass of wine when you get home and not stand up again voluntarily. Lots of hours at work has led to very few in the kitchen recently, but hopefully this imbalance will now be rectified.

A while ago I tried out the Szechuan Spicy Eggplant recipe from the beautiful Fooddeco site. It was super tasty and looked amazing but wowsa that sauce is INTENSE. It is so highly flavoured that it was a bit overwhelming; definitely needed the bed of warm zucchini noodles that I served it with, to tone it down.

The sweet potato recipe below is adapted from the original with a few modifications that makes the szechuan sauce a bit less saltily intense while still packing a mad punch. This can of course also be used with the hasselback eggplant.

I cooked mine in the fantastic La Chamba dish I was given for Christmas. This traditionally handmade Columbian stoneware is the business – it looks great and can be used on the stovetop and in the oven. I plan to acquire a cupboard full!

Serves 2 or 3 as a main.

Things that go in:
2 large sweet potatoes
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 finely chopped red or green chili (or 1/2 tablespoon chili flakes)
2cm of fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon spelt or other flour (or 1 teaspoon cornstarch)
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sushi vinegar
100 ml water
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
400g tin of black beans, rinsed
300g cherry tomatoes, halved

Things that go on:
Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 avocado, sliced or chopped

Things that you do:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Hasselback the sweet potatoes* and rub the outsides with a bit of olive oil.

Heat the sesame oil in an ovenproof pan or dish over an element and saute the onions, garlic, ginger and chili for a 3 to 5 minutes until soft and golden.

Mix the soy sauce, sushi vinegar, flour, and tamarind paste together in a bowl.

Add the fish sauce to the pan and cook for one minute before adding the soy sauce mixture and stirring through.

Pour in the water, Sriracha sauce, black beans and tomatoes and mix together thoroughly.

Place the sweet potatoes in the dish with the sauce and bake in the oven for 50-60minutes until the sweet potatoes are crisping on the outside and tender on the inside.
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Serve with the fresh coriander and avocado.

*a handy tip is to place a chopstick either side of whatever you are hasselbacking, this stops the knife from cutting through to the bottom of the vegetable. This won’t help for the ends though so you need to be a bit more careful there.

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