Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Sweet Potato and Bacon Waffles | 蕃薯煙肉窩夫

Growing up, waffles were hardly part of my breakfast repertoire. We didn't grow up with a waffle maker at home. Although Hong Kong-style waffles were sold everywhere at hawker stands - generously slathered with peanut butter and condensed milk and sold side by side with egg puffs - I never really developed strong memories of waffles since street food was strictly off limits in my family.

Much in the same way as American style pancakes, waffles always felt to me like empty calories heavy with flour and laden with sugar - nothing more than a vehicle for the river of syrup or pat of butter, or the occasional bells and whistles.

Things started evolving for me when fried chicken and waffles became a thing in the U.S., something of a national obsession really. Don't get me wrong - chicken and waffles have been around for ages, with origins purportedly rooted in the South, but the formidable duo has seen a revival of late as brunch grew to become the top trend in American cuisine and beyond. In an instance, the humble waffle has been propelled to the center stage and under the global spotlight as an increasing number of restaurants worldwide are adding the combo to their menu and coming up with their own signature variations, be it savory or sweet. Waffles were no longer just for breakfast; neither are they simply just plain or sweet. My attitude towards waffles shifted. Next thing I know, I developed a craving for fried chicken and waffle and make a beeline for my favorite spot every time I land in New York.

End of last year, I picked up a multi-function sandwich maker at an appliances blowout sale that came with a waffle griddle. The machine hasn't seen daylight since until this past weekend when I decided a lazy "brunch for dinner" was in order for my little get-together with a couple of good friends. And by lazy, I mean it was just going to be waffle and gazpacho, no cooking required. I wanted the waffle to be the main event, something that was at once comforting, healthy, and satisfying. I also did not want flour to be the bulk of the waffle. So I looked to sweet potato - and sure enough - sweet potato waffles is a thing.

"Brunch for Dinner": a cozy, happy, celebratory weekend reunion!
Sweet potatoes are considered low on the glycemic index scale - meaning the carbohydrates are slowly digested, absorbed, and metabolized and do not cause a spike in insulin levels. Not only are these wholesome sweet potato waffles low in carbs and calories (make them even better for you without the bacon - but hey, baaaaacon), they are naturally gluten-free. Most recipes on the internet call for coconut flour to be incorporated into the mixture, but considering that in some parts of the world coconut flour is not readily available or is plain costly, I recommend other nut flours or cornstarch as a gluten-free substitute.

In this savory version of sweet potato waffles, bacon, spring onions and a touch of garlic powder give incredible flavor, while paprika brings subtle heat that plays off the mild sweetness in the sweet potatoes. Top the waffles with more crisp bacon, a gorgeous, runny sunny-side-up and a generous sprinkle of chopped spring onion, and finish with a light drizzle of maple syrup and hot sauce for a delicious sensory experience. Pair the ensemble with a refreshing, appetizing cup of gazpacho (recipe to come soon!) and you have a complete brunch suited for any time of the day!

What you'll need... (for two)
1 medium sweet potato (2 cups grated)
1 bunch spring onion, chopped
3 tablespoons cornstarch*
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Large pinch of sea salt
1 slice bacon (optional)
2 eggs, beaten

To serve:
Bacon | Fried or poached egg | Avocado | Maple syrup | Hot sauce | Chopped spring onion

Note*: substitute with 2 tablespoons of coconut flour

1. Peel and grate the sweet potato. Give the shredded sweet potato a few quick pulses in a food processor if necessary to break down any long strands. Important: lay grated sweet potato out on paper towels. Place another paper towel on top and press down to absorb as much liquid as possible.

2. Preheat waffle maker or waffle iron.

3. In a small frying pan, cook the bacon (if using) until desired crispiness, drain excess fat and crumble the bacon. In a large bowl, mix together all the waffle ingredients including the crumbled bacon until thoroughly combined.

4. Once the waffle maker is hot, grease with bacon fat or spray with nonstick spray. Spread sweet potato batter evenly onto the waffle maker, making sure it's packed down lightly. Close machine and let cook until golden brown and slightly crispy, flipping once if necessary, about 8 - 10 minutes. Remove and repeat with remaining batter.

5. While waffle is cooking, prepare toppings of choice. If making waffles in batches, lay cooked waffles on a rack and keep warm in an oven. Transfer to a plate and top with desired fixings, enjoy!

 【 蕃薯煙肉窩夫 】

一般的格仔餅啊!近年美國掀起炸雞窩夫熱潮、加上週末嘆 Brunch 的文化漸催普及化,窩夫不再只局限於早餐或作甜品~ 早餐當晚餐又何樂而不為呢? 用蕃薯製作的格仔餅鹹中帶甜,低卡高纖零麩質、不會令血糖飆升,配上培根煎蛋蘑菇和蕃茄凍湯,是完整完美的「早餐」啊!

蕃薯                                200 克
                                   1 小札
粟粉*                             3 湯匙
紅椒粉 (paprika)          1 茶匙
蒜粉                                1/2 茶匙
海鹽                                1/4 茶匙
煙肉                                1 片(可免)
雞蛋                                2 隻

伴碟:煙肉 | 太陽蛋 | 水煮蛋 | 牛油果 | 楓糖漿 | 辣醬 | 蔥花
備註*:粟粉可用 2 湯匙椰子粉代替,更為理想

1. 蕃薯去皮刨絲,建議用食物處理器把蕃薯絲略為打碎。
2. 蕃薯絲鋪在廚房紙上再放上另一層廚房紙,用力按壓,把多餘水份吸乾。
3. 煙肉煎香,切成碎片 (如使用)。
4. 雞蛋打成蛋液、蔥切成蔥花,保留少許綠色部分作裝飾用。
5. 把所有窩夫材料拌勻備用。
6. 窩夫機預熱,掃上少許油,鋪上適量蕃薯蛋漿,蓋好烘至呈金黃色和帶脆,約 8 - 10 分鐘。伴上自己喜歡的配料,即成!


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