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Garlic-Scented Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk and Cilantro

Why this recipe works:

We wanted a mashed sweet potatoes recipe that would push the deep, earthy sweetness to the fore and produce a silky puree with enough body to hold its shape while sitting on a fork. Braising the sweet potatoes in a mixture of butter and heavy cream gave our mashed sweet potatoes richness. Adding salt brought out their delicate flavor, and just a teaspoon of sugar bolstered their sweetness.

Shake the can of coconut milk before opening to combine the coconut cream with the liquid beneath. Cutting the sweet potatoes into slices of even thickness is important in getting them to cook at the same rate. A potato masher will yield slightly lumpy sweet potatoes; a food mill will make a perfectly smooth puree. The potatoes are best served immediately, but they can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and kept relatively hot for 30 minutes. This recipe can be doubled in a Dutch oven; the cooking time will need to be doubled as well.


1/2 cup coconut milk
1 small clove garlic , minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 large or 3 medium-small potatoes), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves


1. Combine coconut milk, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar, and sweet potatoes in 3 to 4 quart saucepan; cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes fall apart when poked with fork, 35 to 45 minutes.

2. Off heat, mash sweet potatoes in saucepan with potato masher, or transfer mixture to hopper of food mill and process into warmed serving bowl. Stir in pepper and cilantro; serve immediately.