Sweet Potato and Leek Cakes

There are several types of sweet potato but the ones I like best are those with a thin reddish/orange skin and clear, pale-orange flesh, which becomes richer and deeper when cooked. Before buying, scrape a little skin off with your nail to make sure they are not the white-fleshed kind. Serve these cakes for lunch or supper, with a mixed leaf salad.


  • 900 g/2 lb sweet potatoes
  • 100 g/4 oz butter
  • 1 rounded tablespoon thick plain yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons whole seed mustard
  • 2 level teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 6 small to medium leeks
  • 100 g/4 oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • groundnut oil for frying
  • sea salt
  • black pepper


Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them up roughly and steam or boil until very soft. Then drain and mash thoroughly with 50 g/2 oz of the butter. Mix in the yoghurt, mustard and caraway seeds and season to taste.

Trim the leeks and chop up fairly small, using as much of the green part as possible. Wash the chopped leeks and drain thoroughly. Melt the remaining butter in a deep frying pan over a gentle heat, add the leeks and cook in the open pan until just soft, stirring often. Now mix the leeks and their butter into the mashed sweet potatoes and leave until cold.

Using wet hands, mould the mixture into fish cake shapes. Have the breadcrumbs in a bowl on one side and as you form the cakes dip each one in the breadcrumbs to cover it.

To cook, pour 1.25cm/½in groundnut oil over the base of a large frying pan and put over a medium heat. Fry the cakes until rich golden brown on both sides and remove to a warmed serving dish with a slotted spatula.