Boniato (also called batata or tropical sweet potato) is a white, starchy, and dry version of the common sweet potato. It’s popular in Florida and the Caribbean, but well-known throughout the Americas and some of Europe (Spain in particular). It was cultivated as far back as 1,000 years ago in Central and South America. Its skin is red-to-purple in color, and has white flesh. As far as I can tell, it is nearly identical to the Japanese sweet potato in terms of appearance and taste; considering the fact that sweet potatoes were a late addition to Japan (around the 17th century), I’d guess that the differences between the two is minimal. I’ve also seen identical sweet potatoes labeled as Korean sweet potatoes here in Maryland.
Taste-wise, boniato is like a cross between a white potato and sweet potato. If you’re missing the consistency of white potatoes but react poorly to them, this is the dish for you.
Preparing boniato is easy. Because the potato is naturally creamy, you only need to add a little cream to them to get a truly decadent flavor. If you’re dairy-free, they’re still surprisingly creamy when made with only chicken broth.
2 large white sweet potatoes (~1.75 lbs), peeled and sliced into 1″ pieces
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp each salt and white pepper, more to taste
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup each heavy cream and chicken broth (or 1/2 cup chicken broth)
Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot, then fill with enough cold water to cover the potatoes by an inch. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot; stir in the butter, salt, white pepper, nutmeg, and half of the cream and chicken broth. Mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth, adding more cream and chicken broth as needed. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.