Over the holidays I've been rummaging through my iPhoto collection in the search of nice pictures for a scrapbook that I'm currently working on for me and my boyfriend. As I was going through the different folders I found a bunch of food pictures that have never seen the daylight because they were taken before I started this blog. Such as these shots of the Leon - inspired ginger and coriander sweet potato dish. It's not a secret that I'm a sweet potato fan. My favourite way of indulging in them is to make sweet potato fries, but I've ventured outside the box a little lately with a sweet potato dip, sweet potato patties and even sweet potato brownies à la Deliciously Ella. But with this dish I'm bringing it back to the basics. Sweet potato, ginger and coriander. That's pretty much all you need. Clean eating doesn't have to be complicated and it doesn't always have to require exotic ingredients that you can only purchase in special health stores. Sometimes less is more.
The one food I wouldn't want to live without: Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are incredible; they are high in antioxidants, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can help with blood sugar regulation. Their high vitamin A content has earned them the reputation of a "skin food" and makes them great at strenghthening the body's immunity against infections. For the one's that are still scared by the word potato: sweet potatoes contain slightly less carbohydrates than regular potatoes do, but instead contain almost twice as much fiber. The high fiber gives them a "slow burning quality", meaning they'll keep you fuller, more energised and more satisfied for longer.
A note on carbs
I love carbs. Having read books such as The China Study, Crazy Sexy Diet or The Beauty Detox Solution, I am a strong believer in the long term health benefits of a high carb diet and truly feel that my body thrives on carbs. Many people unfortunately still associate a high carb diet with weight gain. That is because they don't understand that carbs aren't all created equally.
Carbohydrates come in many different forms; fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. They can be broken down into refined and complex carbs. Refined carbs such as white bread, white pasta, white rice, baked goods and the such are in fact bad for your health. They have very little nutritional value and only add empty calories. They are called refined for a reason - they have been stripped of their fiber and nutrients and are then further processed and bleached. When consumed, the body turns them into simple sugars extremely quickly, which causes a spike in insulin levels. Then there are complex carbs, consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. These carbs are "whole", meaning they haven't been refined and still possess all their fiber, micro nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Foods that contain complex carbohydrates include beans, whole grain breads and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes. These foods tend to be higher in fiber and take longer to digest. Translation: They are healthier.
I decided to pair the dish with some bulgur and raw tomatoes. I had never tried bulgur before, but had heard about it and was eager to finally give it a try. It tasted delicious, but the aftermath wasn't that enjoyable. Why? Because I have a gluten intolerance and didn't realise that bulgur has gluten in it! Shot myself in the foot there. Within 10 minutes I had really bad stomach cramps and I immediately knew that it could have only come from the bulgur. I thought that I knew my gluten free eating guide pretty well, but somehow I must have overlooked bulgur. I'm sure this dish would have been equally delicious with quinoa or a chickpea salad on the side.
Ginger and Coriander Sweet Potatoes
500 g sweet potatoes
4-5 large cloves of garlic
5 cm piece of ginger
Stalks and leaves from one small bunch of fresh coriander
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp olive oil
Thinly slice the sweet potatoes (best done with a kitchen machine). Boil water in the meantime.
Peel the garlic and ginger and chop it finely. Also chop the coriander.
Once the water is boiling, add the sweet potatoes and cook them until they are soft but not breaking apart.
On a low heat, warm up the sunflower oil and once hot add in the ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
Then add the sweet potatoes, coriander, chilli flakes and sea salt and fry for a few mins to allow the mixture of flavours.