Looking to jazz up the humble sweet potato? New cookbook, AFRO VEGAN, features family recipes from Zoe Alakija’s British-Nigerian kitchen all with a vegan twist! These vegan stuffed sweet potatoes are a delicious way to enjoy this healthy root veg and could make a great plant-based BBQ staple this summer.
Serves 6 | 1 hour 15 minutes
Zoe says “Asaro is a Yorùbá pottage (a thick stew) made from yams with a creamy base of peppers and tomato. I adore it scooped into roasted sweet-potato skins and finished with cool coconut yoghurt, pomegranate seeds, fresh coriander and wedges of lime. And you can never have too many crispy shallots to pile on top.”
6 large sweet potatoes
4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
pinch of sea salt
50ml/13⁄4fl oz vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
71⁄2cm/3in fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Scotch bonnet (to taste), minced
21⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
1 tsp fine salt
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 red peppers
400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
500g/1lb 2oz puna yam (about half a tuber), peeled and diced
1 tbsp sustainable red palm oil (or vegetable oil)
400ml/131⁄2fl oz can full-fat coconut milk
200g/7oz kale, shredded 100g/31⁄2oz coconut yoghurt
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C/350°F fan). Prick the sweet potatoes all over, season and bake on a greased tray for 1 hour or until soft.
Meanwhile, fry the shallots in the vegetable oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until golden and crispy, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shallots to a plate lined with kitchen paper, sprinkle with the sea salt and set aside.
Cook the garlic and ginger in the same oil for 1 minute. Add the Scotch bonnet, turmeric, stock cube, fine salt and tomato purée, stirring for a few minutes. Put the red peppers in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth, then add them to the pan with the chopped tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes more.
Pour in 500ml/1 pint boiling water and bring everything to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the diced yam. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the sweet potatoes are done, halve them lengthways and scoop out the flesh, lightly mashing it into the stew. Set the skins aside. Add the palm oil and coconut milk to the stew and simmer, uncovered, for 8 minutes. Stir in the kale and cook for another 4–5 minutes before removing from the heat.
Spoon the stew into the sweet potato skins, then top each with a tablespoon of the coconut yoghurt and a sprinkling of crispy shallots. You can garnish with pomegranate seeds, fresh coriander and lime wedges, if you like.
Afro Vegan by Zoe Alakija is published by Hoxton Mini Press