Milk Street: Spike your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes with Korean flavors

Milk Street: Spike your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes with Korean flavors

Each November in South Korea, the streets fill with toasty aromas of roasted sweet potato as they are cooked outside over barrel drums full of glowing coals. Meanwhile, home cooks take advantage of the season to feature the tubers in a variety of satisfying dishes.

One such dish, goguma-bap, would make for an interesting Thanksgiving side with very little effort. It marries the sweet potatoes with short grain rice and a sweet-spicy soy-based dressing for a hearty vegetarian offering.

After the potatoes are peeled and cubed, they are steamed with the rice and seasoned at the table with soy sauce and chives. The result is a dish with pure sweet-potato flavor accented by fresh notes of allium and nutty sesame seeds.

It’s also a perfect weeknight dinner. In the version from our book “Cook What You Have,” which draws on pantry staples to assemble easy meals, we opt to season the sweet potatoes with just a little of this sauce before cooking to make them especially flavorful. Though we prefer the nuttiness of short-grain brown rice for added complexity, the dish requires only 10 minutes of active work.

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Pungent, garlicky Chinese chives resemble thick blades of grass; if you can get them from your local Asian supermarket, use them in place of the scallions. The Korean red pepper commonly used in this dish is called gochugaru, but regular red pepper flakes work perfectly well.

Make sure to not cut the sweet potatoes too large or they will not cook in the same time as the rice. Also, be sure to keep an eye on your saucepan as the dish steams; if you see large amounts of steam coming from the lid, quickly uncover to allow the built-up steam to escape, then recover, reduce the heat slightly and continue cooking.

For more recipes, go to Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street at

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