My passion for cooking arises from the curiosity of learning about foods from other cultures and expanding my knowledge in order to improvise how I can complement other foods with those of my Mexican background. Last week, I tested Goguma-matang or candied sweet potatoes that reminded me of a Mexican dish; camotes is a classic that my mom makes often. This is because the diversity of this dish with its mushy potatoes, sweet golden flavor with a touch of cinnamon allows it to be a light dessert after a meal, a sweet snack before bedtime with a cup of milk, or just a simple anytime treat to satisfy that sweet tooth.
I called my mother to ask her for her recipe and I more than ever understood Diane and Grace’s goal in trying to put together a cook book; not an easy task, but definitely worth all the effort. You see, like many housewives, my mother easily spends more than half her day in the kitchen, cooking every day for our large family. Her experience no longer requires her to use measuring cups or keep track of how long something has been cooking for. It’s as simple as “When it’s done, it is done.” Therefore, while asking her for the recipe, I ran into the frustration of what happens every time I need a recipe: I have to stop her after each second to ask how much, how long, or simply how! Luckily, my mother happened to be making her camotes when I called her for the recipe, making it a lot easier to get more accurate guidance. I would like to share her recipe with you:
Los Camotes de Mamá (Mom’s Yams)
2 large piloncillos (you can substitute ¾ of a pack of brown sugar)
1 stick of cinnamon
2 cups of water
6 medium-sized yams
- Wash yams well.
- Cut the yams into thick pieces, about 2 inches wide, and leave the skin on. (My mom likes to cut the yams horizontally in large ovals.)
- Combine all ingredients (piloncillos, cinnamon, water and yams) into a medium-sized pot.
- Allow mixture to come to a boil.
- Lower the temperature to medium-low heat and cover with a lid.
- Cook for about 1.5 hours or until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the lid and allow sugar to thicken by raising the temperature to medium high for about 10 minutes, but do not allow the sauce to become too sticky.