I was under the impression that yams and sweet potatoes are one-in-the-same, but it turns out they are two distinct entities. Though, I wasn’t the only one confused. (It was the government’s fault!)
Basically, what we’ve known as a yam has never been a yam. The sweet potato (ipomoea batatas) and the yam (dioscoreaceae) are not even distantly related. True yams, which come from hot climates like those within Asia and Africa, are harder to come by. It’s very likely that most of us have never eaten yams.
Sadly, this means we’ll have to start calling our candied yams candied sweet potatoes.
I love sweet applications of potatoes or other starchy tubers. In Asia, it’s very common for them to be in desserts such as a sweet taro bun filling or in a tapioca and coconut pudding. When I was much younger, my grandma used to make me mashed potatoes, dosed with some serious sugar.
So, sweet potato in waffles doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary.
What’s also common in Asia is the tendency to blur the line between dessert and entree. (If a Chinese person ever offers you a garlic flavored sweet cookie—take it!) Waffles with syrup are often too sugary for me. So, personal preference, I dosed this sweet potato waffles recipe with black pepper and salt. The spices will be familiar. These waffles smell like Thanksgiving. The good thing is that it doesn’t come with bickering relatives.
- 1 1/2 cups cubed sweet potatoes, boiled and tender
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice mix (a blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice)
- 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- With a fork or potato masher, mash potatoes.
- Add egg yolks, sugar, salt, milk, spices, and pepper into the potato mixture in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add butter to potato batter. Stir to combine.
- Sift together flour and baking powder once. Resift the mixture directly into the potato batter in three increments, stirring a few times between each addition. Streaks of flour in the batter are okay.
- In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites with potato batter in three increments/batches. Streaks at the end are okay. You want to keep the bubbles in the egg whites.
- You’ll portion your batter depending on the size of your waffle iron. My waffle iron uses a light ladle to make square waffles. Pour batter onto a preheated, non-stick iron and let it cook for 5-7 minutes. These waffles may take longer than traditional waffles due to the moisture in the potatoes.