The Okinawan sweet potato (beni imo) is an excellent source of antioxidants and dietary fiber. Outside of Japan, this sweet potato is primarily grown in Hawaii.
I had my first taste of this delicious purple beauty when I moved to Hawaii in 1993. My family boils them and then peel the paper-thin skin off to eat as a snack. I especially love mine with a little pat of butter.
I cut it in half when still raw to show you just how beautiful it is! It's very similar to the Southeast Asian yam called ube in the Philippines and khoai mo in Vietnam. I had a very tasty vegan khoai mo soup at a temple in Vietnam, so I decided to make a similar soup when I saw these sweet potatoes at the Asian market. The soup turned out to be a bit sweet for my liking (unlike canh khoai mo) because I really don't have a sweet tooth at all, but those of you who favor sweet and savory dishes would love it!Okinawan Sweet Potato Soup
(Yields 4 Appetizer Portions)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 stalks scallion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 big Okinawan sweet potato, peeled & diced ½ inch
- 2 cups chicken/vegetable broth
- 2 cups water, more or less to desired consistency
- ¼ cup unsweetened Thai coconut milk
- Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Chopped cilantro leaves to garnish
Melt butter in a saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil. Sweat scallion and garlic over low heat until soft and almost golden. Add the potatoes, broth, water and salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add coconut milk and take off heat to puree with hand blender until smooth. Adjust seasoning and add black pepper and cilantro leaves. Serve hot or chilled.