Thursday, March 20, 2008

Recipe of the Day: Meat Ball in Sweet Potato Crust

I don't know what prompted me to buy 1 sweet potato at the grocery last week. They named it Yam but I have always known it as Sweet potato. Perhaps the usual puds looked too boring and overflowing in their cubicles and the prepacked 5lbs bag which sells for $2.99 scared me of being a potato maniac and making my family curse me for cooking potatoes all week long.

But the sweet potatoes look nice, with their reddish long elongated shape ending with a tip and their bright orange flesh reminds me of the sweetness of Japanese squash, Kabocha. The only time that I ever eat sweet potato is in a dessert type sweetened soup cooked with Chinese rock sugar and yam (which is called batatas here). And I have no idea on any other recipes.

And so it sat in the vegetable basket till today, looking miserable and lonely among the clusters of garlic and onions. I took pity on it and pondered on. Since it is sweet in taste, making it into a dish for dinner was really tricky. I had a packet of cooked beef balls in the freezer, of which I initially bought for steamboat. Since the weather has got warmer, there is no fun sitting in front of a hot pot and sweating away.

The Easter Eggs reminded me of Scotch Eggs, which is hard boiled egg wrapped in a minced meat coating and dipped in bread crumbs, deep fried to golden brown. I used the same method, boiled and mashed up the sweet potato, coat it all over the meatball and dip them into Panko and deep fried. The deep frying part was a bit tricky with medium heat and constant turning as the meatball were golf balls sized and thank goodness they were already cooked beforehand as the panko browned really quickly outside. Maybe my choice of olive oil had too high of a smoking point and was not compatible with the panko and now I understand why Rachael Ray had to cook everything under 30 minutes with her famous EVOO while I fumbled all over the humongous meat balls to get an even browning.

The taste of the end product was quite unique. One bite and you get all 3 textures... crusty panko, mushy sweet potato and chewy meatball. I personally like it as I love the sweetness blending in with the meatiness of the inner part. Curry was a bit skeptical as he never liked pumpkin nor squash, but he finished up dutifully, so that is still a good sign.

1 medium sized sweet potato
5 large cooked beef meatballs
1 egg, beaten
Panko (about 1 cup)
Oil for deep frying
salt & pepper

1)Boil water and cook sweet potato till soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from water and mash and let cool. Season with pepper and salt. Add in scallions.
2)Take a handful and coat all over the meatball. Smooth and shape into a perfect round. Let the meatballs stand for 15 minutes.
3)Heat oil for deep frying on medium.
4)Deep coated meatballs into beaten egg and then panko. Deep fry 2 or 3 at one time. Keep turning the balls to get an even browning (about 7 minutes). Lift up and let cool. Cut into half and serve.

Serves: 3 (Can be served with salad and dressing)

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