In my home town Chengdu the winter was always very cold in my memory, and the moisture made the coldness even more unbearable. At that time we students were always going to school by bicycles, even in the freezing winter.
One of the pictures in my memory from that time is those dark evenings after finishing school, where I spent days and nights for learning and more learning for endless small and big exams… Every evening we had to stay at school to finish our homework and do a lot of exercises to prepare for the important exams untill eight or even nine o’clock.
Well, that was my youth… Every evening after the end of school at nine, came the best moment of the day. My girlfriends and I picked up our bikes from the bicycle garage and left the school with a big relief that the day of endless learning was at last over.
The winter air was cold and clear. While chatting, white steam rose from our mouths. On the other side of the street, opposite the entrance of our school, was an older man at the age of about 60 years standing there every evening. His tricycle was enthroned with a pitch black coal stove. On the stove the dark red coal was glowing and blazing pleasant warmness. Laying on the glowing coal were the incredibly sweet-smelling tubers – the sweet Potatoes. Their peel was already black and partly cracked through the burning heat, where their caramel-like juice was flowing out and made the seductive sweet smell even stronger.
This stand was the favorite meeting point for me and my friends in the winter. We sat on our bikes, talked to the “sweet potato grandpa” (as we called him) and ordered a couple of these tasty tubers. The sweet potato grandpa always picked the softest tubers for us, as they tasted sweetest after being grilled for the longest time. We took off our thick gloves and halved the soft tubers into two parts just with our hands. White hot steam rose from the middle of the bright orange sweet potatoes. This incredibly sweet fragrance with the hot steam rushed into our noses. There is no other more tempting smell in the world than this!
We swallowed this deliciousness and felt the warmness flowing through our hands, our mouths and our stomachs. We ate, laughed, chatted. At this moment we forgot all these horribly difficult exercises and the upcoming exams… It was simply beautiful.
When I was creating this recipe in my head, I was tempted to reconstruct this unforgettable aroma for myself. I wanted to have an appetizer whose taste could remind me of the grilled sweet potatoes. At first I tried to bake the potatoes in the oven. But the potatoes turned out to become too dry and the desired flavor was not there. When I then stir fried the diced potatoes in the oil and caramelized them with the brown sugar, the familiar aroma was suddenly there!
I just can not have enough of this dish, since the recipe turned out to be a success. I love to make this cream every time. What a flavor, what a taste! Each time, this cream reminds me of the sweet potato grandpa with the world’s most delicious grilled sweet potatoes! 🙂
Ingredients (6-8 portions as a starter):
500g sweet potatoes
2 shallots (finely diced)
2 cloves of garlic (finely diced)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tsp Indian curry powder
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper
100g roasted peanuts for garnishing (roughly chopped)
- Cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan briefly. Sauté the diced shallots and garlic in it until getting glassy.
- Add the sweet potatoes and stir fry. Then add the curry powder and brown sugar, mix well. Simmer covered over low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and puree everything with a hand blender. Add the peanut butter and mix well.
- Finally add the coconut oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish the sweet potato cream with the chopped peanuts. Serve with crispy shrimp chips. It tastes very well with caramelized chicken breast filet as well.