Hello Everyone! Now this is a recipe I’ve been so eager to make since forever. I first came across this dish from a café across the road from my campus when I was still studying in Australia for my design degree. The café is known as Ampersand Café & Bookstore. I did a review of the café back in 2015, so if you have some free time up your sleeves, go and have a read, or just a look at the lovely ambiance of the café and the delicious food served there.
The one thing I would never fail to order off their blackboard menu? That’s right, their sweet potato crisps with aïoli. I even remember going there several times and not being able to order this dish because their deep fryer had been broken for a couple of months. At times I would even ask them “is your deep fryer still broken?” and then make a sad face later when they would unfortunately say yes.
The crisps from the café are made using orange sweet potatoes, and since we’re sharing violet recipes for this month, I decided to use purple sweet potatoes that I sourced from PruTazan. The sweet, crispy, and caramelised sweet potatoes pair really well with the slightly tangy, spicy, and garlicky aïoli. It’s a perfect side dish to your main meal, or even just a light snack on its own. Either way, it’s a whole new experience of enjoying sweet potatoes!
PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 5 MINS* | SERVES 4
* Plus additional 40 minutes for the roasted garlic (if not made in advance).
For the sweet potato crisps
- 2 small (100-200g) purple sweet potatoes, washed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the roasted garlic
- 1 bulb garlic
- Dried thyme leaves
- Ground paprika
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the easy roasted garlic and chive aïoli
- Roasted Garlic (see above)
- 1 stalk chives, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper powder, plus more if needed (optional)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Cooking oil, for deep frying
- Roasted Garlic: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
- Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of the garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.
- Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.
- Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and flavour with your favourite herbs and spices as well (optional).
- Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, begin checking the garlic. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a knife.
Note: Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelised flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age.
- Let the garlic cool slightly, and then press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper.
Tip: Roasting a single bulb of garlic in an oven for 40 minutes sounds a bit excessive doesn’t it? Well, what I usually like to do is whenever I use my oven for something, be it baking a delicious sweet treat or roasting away some beautiful salmon portions, I always throw a couple of garlic heads wrapped in foil into the oven as well. That way I’m killing two birds with one stone. I then keep the roasted garlic in a jar together with olive oil to preserve and use it when I need to. Roasted garlic can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
- Roasted Garlic and Chive Aïoli: Add all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Add ground cayenne pepper if you want a bit of heat to your aïoli, otherwise you may omit. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Set aside to chill until ready to serve.
- Sweet Potato Crisps: Using a peeler, peel off the skins of the sweet potato. Continue peeling into the flesh of the sweet potato to make long and thin strips. Place on top of a kitchen towel and pat dry to remove any excess moisture from them.
- Pour cooking oil in a large, heavy pan to a depth of about 2 inches, and heat the oil to 165C/325F. Working in small batches, fry the sweet potatoes for about 45 seconds to a minute. Stir them a few times to keep them from sticking together. Using a metal slotted spoon, lift them out onto paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Season the crisps with a touch of salt and serve immediately while hot and crispy with the roasted garlic aïoli. Squeeze a touch of lemon juice onto the crisps before eating. Enjoy!
– Ally xx