This TikTok Hack Is the Secret to Fluffy, Caramelized Roasted Sweet Potatoes

·4 min read

For those who believe "breakfast" should be its own food group, TikTok has blessed us with yet another ingenious food hack to make your mornings shine even brighter. Loaded with protein, vegetarian-friendly, and sure to keep you full for a good portion of the day, this almost too-good-to-be-true sweet potato recipe will keep you coming back for more. Whether you're in between WFH meetings, just got back from a strenuous gym class, or are enjoying a lazy morning, making these loaded roasted sweet potatoes requires minimal effort, and the recipe includes ingredients you likely already have at home.

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Unlike some of the more overly-indulgent and time-consuming TikTok recipes that have emerged in recent months (who remembers Dalgona whipped coffee and mini pancake cereal?) this breakfast dish is healthy, inexpensive, and, best of all, practical. With a few easy tips and tricks inspired by a common Chinese street food technique, your potatoes are guaranteed to turn out soft and fluffy every time. You'll never look at English muffins—and dare I say a McDonald's Egg McMuffin—the same way again after trying this new take on brekky buns!

How to Cook Loaded Sweet Potatoes

There are a few different ways you can whip up flavorful roasted sweet potatoes, but one of the simplest methods (that just so happens to have gone viral on TikTok) involves freezing the potatoes before baking them, and then garnishing them with some of your favorite spices, condiments, and other tasty finishing touches.

Freeze the potatoes first

According to a popular TikTok video from a user named Chaheti Bansal, who goes by @rootedinspice, the key to making fluffy potatoes starts with a frozen spud. Commonly eaten on cold winter days in China, street vendors typically roast the nearly frozen potatoes in a large iron drum until they are tender and caramelized.

New York City-based chef Lucas Sin points out in his Instagram Story highlights that the Chinese cooking technique works because "freezing crystallizes the water inside the sweet potato without puncturing the skin, in effect macerating the flesh inside out." Then, according to Sin, the "high temp roasting caramelizes the sugars, but the skin protects the sugars from burning," on the inside.

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Bake the potatoes in a very hot oven

To mimic the results of coal-roasted, street-style potatoes, Bansal bakes the cold potatoes in a piping hot oven set at 450 degrees. She places the root vegetable on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roasts the potatoes for 45 to 60 minutes. "Bake it until the burnt sugar oozes out, and you get this really fluffy texture and smoky flavor," she advises.

The exterior should begin to caramelize, with the crystalized sugar secreting from the cracks that form outside the sweet potato as it roasts. Apparently, the exposure to high heat helps intensify the comforting sweetness of the dish. Bansal then cuts the potato lengthwise for a bun-like presentation, and uses the back of a spoon to create a nest-like crevice in order to prepare the potato for some delicious toppings.

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Personalize the potatoes with some finishing touches

For a well-balanced breakfast, Bansal cracks an egg into the "nest" of the potato. She then returns the filled spuds to the oven and bakes them until the whites of the eggs are set and cooked.

To add a signature @rootedinspice-style flavorful touch, Bansal then tempers spices, including mustard and cumin seeds, in piping hot ghee—aka clarified butter. This Indian cooking technique is known as tadka. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop and the cumin seeds start to dance around the pan, releasing their aromatic essential oils, Bansal adds some red chili flakes to the mixture for a little heat.

She then finishes off the egg-topped sweet potatoes with a generous spoonful of the flavor-infused ghee and garnishes the dish with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Fortunately, if you're fresh out of sweet potatoes, good ol' Idaho potatoes should work with this recipe as well.

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