Purple Sweet Potato Balls

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About: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!

Intro: Purple Sweet Potato Balls

Purple sweet potatoes (aka Okinawan sweet potatoes) are amazingly good all by themselves, but are even better when combined with coconut cream. This super quick and easy recipe turns purple sweet potatoes into a delicious show-stopper appetizer.

Try it out - its the perfect finger-food treat for kids and adults of all ages.

Step 1: Find and Roast Sweet Potatoes

Purple sweet potatoes are often available in Japanese markets, or stores catering to an Asian or Pacific Island clientele. If you can't find any, ask your grocery store to special-order a box, and split with friends and family - you'll plow through these tasty little purple treats at a rapid clip. Also available online. Mine were $1.89/lb at Farmer Joe's in Oakland, CA.

Note that these potatoes are grey/white on the outside, and purple on the inside. Other varieties of purple sweet potato have a reddish-browninsh-purple exterior, but tend to be a bit dry for making sweet potato balls.

Wash the exterior of your sweet potatoes, place them on a foil-covered baking sheet, and stick in a 350F oven for 1-2 hours (depending on potato size) until thoroughly roasted. You'll be able to squish them with your hands just like an orange sweet potato when they're cooked through.

Step 2: Add Coconut Cream

Scoop out your sweet potatoes, and stir in coconut cream - you should use about a 3:1 ratio of sweet potato to coconut cream. Add a pinch of salt (start with ~1/8 teaspoon per 2 cups of potatoes.) Mash and stir together, adjusting quantities until the mixture is about the consistency of a sticky playdough. Adjust salt to taste.

Don't have coconut cream on hand? Stick a can of coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours, then scoop off the solidified cream. Save the liquid for another use; I like to add it to curries or soups.

Step 3: Roll Into Balls & Serve

Take a scoop of potato, and roll it around in your hands until you've created a nice cohesive sphere. If the potato mix is too crumbly, add more coconut cream (or butter, if you've run out); if it's too sticky, mix in more sweet potato, or flatten the potato mix and let it sit and dry out for an hour or two.

Place your finished sweet potato balls on a serving platter, and garnish with a flake of toasted coconut to be super-fancy.  I tend to serve these at room temperature for convenience, but they're also good cold, hot, or with a Thai-style curry sauce. 

The finished sweet potato balls save beautifully - just place in an air-tight container and refrigerate.

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    7 Discussions

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    Slippery arm

    2 years ago

    Cool I love purple potatoes the are so whimsically

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    acousticlinux

    4 years ago

    I will try the coconut as well. I live in Okinawa so I enjoy the purple potatoes a few times a year. Mostly holidays, but my favorite is the baked glazed preparation. love the posts.

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    acousticlinux

    4 years ago

    a tasty addition is to toast sesame seeds and then roll the sweet potato rounds in them until covered.

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    canidaacousticlinux

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    This sounds delicious! I'll have to give it a try next time. Maybe a mix of toasted sesame seeds and toasted finely-grated coconut?

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    canidaannabenson6

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Not really! Regular orange sweet potatoes have a much higher water content, so instead of a nice slightly sticky paste you'll end up with un-formable slops.