And so it happened that yesterday I was shopping at Tensuke market, and stumbled upon these purple "Hawaiian" sweet potatoes. One had been cut in half for display, and I was powerless to resist purchasing a package of them (about 4 small potatoes for $2, enough for 2 servings).
As a general rule, purple fruits and veggies are very, very good for you, containing an antioxident known as anthocyanin, also found in blueberries. These are intensely purple, almost instantly turning the cooking water really purple (see below) - so pretty you want to drink it! On further thought, you might retain more of the antioxidants by steaming them rather than boiling, but that's a note for next time. In addition to being full of antioxidants, these potatoes are a good source of fiber and potassium.
After a little research, I discovered that these potatoes are also called Okinawan potatoes - - , as they are native to Okinawa. So it would seem funny that they would be called Hawaiian at a Japanese grocery store. But, who am I to judge or question?
I brought these sweet potatoes right home, peeled them, and boiled them in salted water for about 12 minutes until they were soft, and then tasted them plain. They are very good - very sweet and rich, with a dry, almost crumbly texture. I added just a pinch of chicken stock and a little salt and ate them just like that, and then started thinking of how good they would be as dessert. So I'm going to eat the second serving drizzled with a little maple syrup.
I think you should try these if you ever see them for sale. If nothing else, they make a great conversation starter and I am sure kids would get a kick out of eating something which looks like purple Play-doh!