easy · main dish · Recipes · side dish · starch

Cardamom Sweet Potatoes

Cardamom Sweet Potato Stew

When our neighbors give us fresh purple yams from their farm, this recipe is what instantly comes to mind. Served over rice, this is one of the easiest and fastest meals possible. I do not recommend using the sweet, deep, and water-heavy yam for this recipe. Instead, look for a sweet potato that is more starchy, contains less water, and ideally has a complex flavor. I’ve had really good luck with purple, starchy yams

  • 5 c starchy sweet potatoes/yams
  • 1/2 t freshly ground green cardamom seeds (pod coverings removed and discarded)
  • about 1 c coconut milk, canned or fresh (more if using freshly made)
  • 1 cup or so of water
  • 2 T good quality maple syrup, preferably grade B


Remove inner seeds from green cardamom pods. Discard pod shells. Using a mortar and pestle, pulverize cardamom seeds. Peel sweet potatoes/yams and cut into roughly 1″ cubes.

In a large pot, add sweet potatoes/yams, cardamom, maple syrup, and coconut milk. Add enough water to almost submerge sweet potato cubes. Mix gently. Cover. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a low simmer. Simmer till sweet potatoes are cooked through, soft enough to eat, but not falling apart, about 30 min.

Serve warm over rice.

5 servings



  • Flavor develops, mellows, and becomes more complex if stored overnight in fridge. However, some of the al dente consistency may be lost.
  • Sugar in equal parts may be substituted for good quality Grade B maple syrup, but flavor will not be as complex. Using unbleached sugar keeps this dish vegan.
  • For the life of me, I can’t keep straight the difference between sweet potatoes and yams, so I use those terms interchangeably

Adapted from a Kenyan dish featured in The Frugal Gourmet by Jeff Smith