Camote Tops (Camote Fritters)

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There they all, all purpley and wonderful.

Today’s post is a throwback to when I said I was going to do a ten-week series on the Filipino food that was cooked and loved at the orphanage we worked at last year, but then I only got through eight weeks because LIFE. So my goal in May is to finish out the last two recipes that I have stored up and, in the process, remind myself of all the sweet things I loved about life in the Philippines. ❤

For example.

Filipino Pancit.

Filipino Pancit

Stairway snuggles.

Children's Shelter of Cebu

Road trips on motorcycle.

IMG_7767Sweet faces.

csc-kids-2Filipino Spaghetti.

Filipino Spaghetti

Little laughter all around.

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And now, to add to the list of wonderful: camotes.

I would describe camotes as a Filipino root vegetable that is some kind of a cross between a yam and a “orange sweet potato” like we’re used to here in the US. They are starchy and a little bit sweet and perfect for frying. Not that I love frying foods or anything.

The Sun Star (a Filipino newspaper) describes them like dis:

“Its starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable… Although the softer, orange variety is often called a yam in parts of North America, the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from the other vegetable called a yam, which is native to Africa and Asia… In certain parts of the world, sweet potatoes are locally known as camote, kamote, man thet, ubi jalar, ubi keladi, shakarkand, satsuma imo, batata or el boniato. In the Philippines, we call them camote.”

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Mashed and boiled, cut into strips and fried, coated in brown sugar and caramelized (kind of like the banana cue) or made into little fritters and sprinkled with sugar, like so – all of it will make you happy.

Camotes could basically be everyone’s perfect snack.

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The day I brought my class to the houses to make these with the aunties in one of the houses, it was so so so hot. Wait, that’s every day in the Philippines. But I swear this day was extra hot. Supposedly this was a cooking lesson (for me and them!) and luckily I think my students were a) immune to the heat and b) in love with Camote Tops because they just dove right in with the grating, rinsing, stirring, frying, flipping, sprinkling, and eating.

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Why is it that even in the hottest of hottness of all the hot, it’s still good to eat fried potatoes? I don’t even know, but it’s for real.

The weird thing about being back home in the US – we’re coming up on the one year mark! what the what! – is that almost every day I think about how thankful I am to be wearing a sweatshirt, drinking safe water, and walking around on a sidewalk with green grass and lakes and clean air all around me. There are some beautiful things about this Minnesota-land. But yet there’s this little piece of my heart that is just aching to go back to the heat, the sweat, the dirt, the intensely gorgeous sunsets, the lizards running around in your kitchen, the motorcycle, and the love that is CSC.

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Someday soon, I hope.

Someday real soon.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Camote Tops
Author: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups peeled and grated camote (sweet potato)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • oil for frying
  • white sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Peel, grate, and rinse the camotes. Combine in a large bowl with the brown sugar, flour, and vanilla.
  2. Pour a thin layer of oil into a large pan (see picture). Bring the oil to a medium high heat. Drop the camote mixture by spoonfuls into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  3. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar before serving.

 

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Comments

  1. What an amazing post! I LOVED seeing all those pictures, especially the one with the little hand helping you add the mixture to the frying pan. And all the smiling faces brought a big smile to mine.

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Have a GREAT weekend!
    AJ

  2. Aww what a lovely post! I can almost feel the heat and hear the giggles in you pictures. These camotes sound delicious! What a yummy treat :)

  3. what a fantastic post! so jealous of your wonderful adventures =)

  4. Hmmmm, I’m wondering right now where I can buy camotes locally?!? I’m thinking I’ll have to check out Wegmans for these (and if anyone out there doesn’t have a Wegmans nearby……I mean, it’s like the best grocery chain bar none!

    It looks like a purplish sweet potato.

    But it’s a root veggie, so I’m thinking I can roast it too? And it would that needed color. Maybe roast with some Russian blue potatoes?? Wow, blue and purple.

    • Natasha says:

      Hi Laura – these are the only kind of sweet potatoes I can buy, and unfortunately they aren´t purple inside :( just an off white color! You can definitely roast them, I do it all the time, and I use it in soup too. basically you can use it in the same way you would other sweet potatoes, but just don´t expect it to have that same sweet creamy flavor!

  5. I love the picture of you and the little girl on the stairs. It’s darling.

  6. Yum! I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of camotes, but will keep my eyes open just in case I can spot them anywhere…

  7. Lindsay You guys are working for such a great cause!! Hi Five to you both and hopefully you will get to see them again soon!!

  8. Thanks for sharing. It’s been three years now since my husband and best friend and I lived/worked at a children’s home in India, and it’s hard to believe. I also, in a strange way, miss the lizards, the motorcycle rides, the insane heat…but let’s be serious, it’s the kids that I would go back for. And the food.

  9. Hello Lindsay,
    I’ve been following Pinch of Yum for quite some time now, have tried many of your recipes too! (love the cauliflower recipes and the giant chocolate chip cookie).
    I’m going on a trip to the Philippines this summer, I have read your blog posts and it looks awe-inspiring. I was wondering if you have any ‘hidden gems’ you coud recommend? anything (must-dos) that was particularly awe-inspiring?
    Would appreciate and value your advice very much!
    Thanks for your help and for keeping such a great blog with delicious recipes :)
    Rose

    • Hi Rose! What part of the Philippines are you traveling to? We went to some pretty awesome places that were off the beaten path a bit, but if you’ll be in the Visayas I’d recommend Moalboal (a dive town) and the island of Bohol (chocolate mountains, Panglao beach, and Calape) < — if you want to REALLY get off the beaten path. :) Beautiful places with lots to see and do!

  10. Natasha says:

    Yay!!! These are the kind of sweet potatoes I have access to! I miss orange sweet potatoes so much, these purple ones (which are a disappointing white color inside) just don´t have the same flavour. I might have to try making this!

    • I REALLY missed orange sweet potatoes in the Philippines. I feel your pain. Sorry girl! But now let’s fry you up some of these Camote Tops! :)

  11. This is such a neat recipe! I love that it’s coated in sugar!

  12. What a great post! I loveee some camote. Your photos are great… Some beautiful scenery and some even more beautiful smiles! I hope you get to go back soon – maybe even replace a couple of those super cold winter mornings :)

  13. Tabitha says:

    hey Lindsay! I live in Cebu and found your blog randomly… I know the CSC kids because my husband and I work for a non-profit that does hippotherapy for a few of them with special needs. I also know Brad and Kiersten.

    Just thought that it’s a crazy small world… and… I just bought camote because it’s supposed to be good for you but I wasn’t sure how to cook it! So thanks!

    • Oh wow! How cool, Tabitha! I think I know the hippotherapy non-profit that you work for… is it run by the French couple? We met them when we were in Cebu and got them in touch with the staff because we thought it would be a good fit for the kids! :) So fun to see that relationship growing – I love seeing the pictures of the kids on horses! Thank you for your comment – my heart is bursting!! :)

  14. Lindsay, I have loved following your blog over the last year! I have been overseas to work with kids like you, and this post truly describes how you leave part of your heart there when you leave. Makes me want to go again…anywhere! Thanks for the reminder, and this recipe looks amazing! I bet my kids would love it too.

  15. Thanks for posting this! it makes me want to go to that orphanage…all of those sweet faces! love.

  16. It looks like you had such an amazing experience over there. I did some voluntary work once in China and will never ever forget it. Worth more than gold. So are these usually served as a snack or with other dishes? Whichever, they sound delicious!

  17. When this page opened I thought, “where did she get Korean sweet potatoes.” How fun! :)

    • haha! I never really learned exactly how to use them in my own cooking but these women taught me the Filipino way and I could never go back. Fried, sugary, yummy!

  18. What a nice story, Lindsay….we also loved our life in the Philippines and the food, pancit, lumpia, fried rice, adobo. And the fresh fish, lapu-lapu, the huge shrimp…..I could go on and on with this. Good memories. One of the desserts our friend, Naty, made for us was Ube Pie. It was a dark purple yam-like vegetable similar to your camote but deep purple on the inside and outside. It tasted like poi. Thanks for sharing and bringing back good times in the PI. :)

  19. What a nice story, Lindsay….we also loved our life in the Philippines and the food, pancit, lumpia, fried rice, adobo. And the fresh fish, lapu-lapu, the huge shrimp…..I could go on and on with this. Good memories. One of the desserts our friend, Naty, made for us was Ube Pie. It was a dark purple yam-like vegetable similar to your camote but deep purple on the inside and outside. It tasted like poi. Thanks for sharing and bringing back good times in the PI. :)

  20. Beautiful post, Lindsey! What a great experience including your love of cooking! Thank you for beautiful photos, great recipe and sharing your adventure! Loved reading it.

  21. Oh Lindsay, I love how you’re willing to open up and share these precious experiences with us. The kids’ sweet faces, their pure excitement and adoration from you, the genuine love in their eyes… I can only imagine how much your heart misses all of that. As much as I like the comforts of this country, there still seems to be a deeper connection between human beings in other parts of the world, especially places less fortunate than us. And that’s worth more than money can buy. I really hope you’re able to go back soon!

  22. Christina says:

    I loved this post Lindsay. I’ve not had this version of camote fritters before, can’t wait to try it.

  23. Just a sweet sweet post with the pictures. It was a perfect story to read in the morning while drinking my tea. I can just feel the love and happiness from those pictures.. Thanks for the warm fuzzy feelings :) Hopefully you can go back sooner than later!

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