Paradise - - Living -

One of Pa­pua New Guinea’s most pop­u­lar foods, the sweet po­tato, also hap­pens to be one of the world’s health­i­est. Known as kaukau, what these knob­bly, ir­reg­u­lar-shaped tu­bers lack in looks is made up for with an enor­mously nu­tri­tious golden flesh that is also sweet and sat­is­fy­ing.

Just one sweet po­tato pro­vides half the daily rec­om­mended dose of vi­ta­min C along with hefty amounts of ben­e­fi­cial fi­bre, man­ganese, cop­per and potas­sium – all vital for op­ti­mum health.

Eat an en­tire cup of sweet po­tato, and your body will re­ceive a lit­tle over the 18,800 in­ter­na­tional units of vi­ta­min A it needs for a whole day. Vi­ta­min A con­trols your genes and cell growth, boosts im­mu­nity, and healthy eye­sight, plus de­creases the chances of de­vel­op­ing night blind­ness.

It also pro­motes strong bones, low­ers choles­terol and helps keep your skin soft.

Sweet pota­toes also con­tain sig­nif­i­cant amounts of vi­ta­min E, an an­tiox­i­dant known to pro­tect us from neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders such as Alzheimer’s dis­ease, tox­ins in air pol­lu­tion, and for help­ing pre­vent eye dis­or­ders such as cataracts.

Reg­u­lar con­sump­tion of sweet po­tato is linked to de­creased risk of de­vel­op­ing obe­sity, di­a­betes and heart dis­ease, all ail­ments that are on the rise in South­east Asia.

It would ap­pear for­tu­nate, then, that the Span­ish brought sweet pota­toes with them to PNG around 1200 years ago. Nowa­days, there are more than 1000 va­ri­eties grown across PNG and the tu­ber is so pop­u­lar that PNG boasts the sec­ond-largest ge­netic di­ver­sity of sweet po­tato out­side Latin Amer­ica. In some iso­lated com­mu­ni­ties, it is es­ti­mated con­sump­tion can run at up to three kilo­grams of sweet po­tato per per­son per day, such is the reliance on its fill­ing, de­li­cious flesh.

Thanks to their starchy tex­ture, sweet pota­toes do well ei­ther baked or roasted, yet are just as de­lec­ta­ble when mashed. Other pop­u­lar ways to serve them in­clude chop­ping them into cubes be­fore toss­ing in a mix­ture of olive oil and herbs, then roast­ing un­til ten­der. On the other hand, sweet pota­toes are one of the ul­ti­mate low-main­te­nance veg­eta­bles – able to be tossed in the oven and roasted whole as is, and then topped with any­thing from sour cream to cheese.

Here is a recipe for a par­tic­u­larly tasty sweet po­tato bake, pop­u­lar in many parts of PNG.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Papua New Guinea

© PressReader. All rights reserved.