Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!
Please join me in welcoming RG Enriquez of Astig Vegan to Cowgirls & Collard Greens for the first time! RG and I met a couple times earlier this year, most recently at the final Vida Vegan Con in Austin, Texas this past May. RG is a passionate and talented chef who combines her Filipino heritage with her love of cooking. A graduate of the popular Rouxbe Culinary School, a YouTube cooking show host and an all around great gal, I am honored to share my blog with her today. And just in time for this year’s Thanksgiving feast, RG shares one of her favorite Filipino recipes which can be served as either an appetizer or dessert. Welcome to Cowgirls & Collard Greens RG, take it away!
Filipino food is notoriously known to be meat-heavy, but believe it or not, some Filipino dishes are traditionally vegan. One of them is a skewered, deep-fried, and caramelized sweet potatoes called Kamote Que. Kamote in Tagalog (Filipino dialect) means sweet potato (you could use white yams too). And que means the dish is skewered.
Growing up in the Philippines, I would buy Kamote que at our neighborhood corner store. Around 3pm, I would enjoy kamote que for a quick yet satisfying afternoon snack or merienda. The price and taste are unbeatable. If I remember correctly, it was like 3 skewers for 50 cents (if converted in US currency). And the taste and texture– sweet and crunchy on the outside and soft and tender inside, are a piece of heaven! If you ask me, I would rather have kamote que than it’s more popular counterpart, banana cue (deep-fried caramelized plantains).
KAMOTE QUE (DEEP-FRIED, CARAMELIZED SWEET POTATOES SKEWERS)
- cooking oil
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes or white yams, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch slices
- 1 cup brown sugar
- bamboo skewers
- Prepare to deep fry. Heat a small pot over medium heat and pour cooking oil 3/4 of the way.
- Test if the oil is hot enough. Place a small piece of sweet potato. If it bubbles up quickly, the oil is ready.
- One by one, carefully drop the sweet potato, covering only 1/2 of the bottom of the pot. Cook for 3 minutes or until skin have turned golden.
- Add a tablespoon of brown sugar. Let it cook until the sugar floats on top.
- Using tongs or spider ladle, swirl the sweet potatoes around to catch the sugar glaze.
- You’ll know when the sweet potatoes are done when they start floating on top. Transfer to a parchment-lined plate (they will stick on paper towels).
- Repeat steps for next batch of sweet potatoes.
- Let the fried sweet potatoes cool down a bit. Once cool enough to touch, skewer three pieces per bamboo stick.
- Serve and enjoy!
I recently made and served kamote que to a Friendsgiving dinner. My friends said they loved it and thought the skewers were a fun idea. The kamote que was served as an appetizer but because it’s on the sweet side, it could be dessert too. If fried correctly (the skin should be a little crunchy), it could go pass dessert and snack for the next day. In fact, my friends brought some to take home.
I hope you give the recipe a try– whether for yourself or a group of loved ones. The ingredients are short and accessible. Sweet potatoes and yams are in season now which make for a delicious kamote que. The process is simple and easy, and the result is sweet, comforting, and fun. Kain na, let’s eat!
ABOUT ASTIG VEGAN
“Astig” is a Tagalog word for tough, unique, or gutsy. RG Enriquez at astigvegan.com looks at vegan Filipino food as something “Astig”.
Born and raised in Bacoor Cavite, Philippines, RG would help her mom cook traditional Filipino food for the entire family. Later on, she and her family migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area where she continued to pursue her passion for cooking.
Although she doesn’t consume animal products anymore, she didn’t want to give up on the food that she loved so much as a kid. Undeterred, she resolved to go deeper in learning Filipino food and share her discoveries along the way.
One of the most amazing discoveries she uncovered was that it IS possible to achieve delicious, healthy, and vegan Filipino food without losing its soul.
Her discoveries include vegan Longganisa, vegan Dinuguan, vegan Kare-kare, vegan Menudo, and many more.