Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Palm Sugar (jaggery)

These Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Palm Sugar is a mighty good, cheap breakfast or snack with good nutritional benefits. It's a taste of home you will always love!

Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Palm Sugar

Introducing one of my most favourite childhood breakfasts 'Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Palm Sugar (jaggery)'.

Rich in Vitamin C and originally a native to South America, sweet potatoes are also known as Kumara. I have seen four varieties of sweet potatoes in my local supermarket. Based on their skin colour, the first is gold variety (the most popular variety and sometimes called as Beauregard), the second is red variety (called as Northern Star) with reddish/purple skin and bright white flesh, the third is purple variety with white skin and purple and white flesh, and the fourth is a white skin variety with cream to white flesh. Although they come in different colours, there is a very little difference in flavour when they are cooked. Choose firm potatoes with even colouring without dark spots or bruising. Store at room temperature in a cool place and they will last for up to two weeks.

Sweet potatoes have many uses. They are great when baked, fried into chips or barbequed, in curries and soups. Today I am going to show you how to eat these nifty sweet potatoes in a simple but satisfying way.

When did I taste these delicious sweet potatoes?

When I was in junior school, my mother prepared these sweet potatoes with jaggery for us for breakfast or as a snack when we got home. I remember waking up in the morning and when I was ironing my blue school uniform with a coal iron (the best iron I have ever used, unfortunately no model name was on the iron) my mum would be boiling the potatoes and simultaneously grating the coconut. She was very particular that the coconut should be fresh and tender (thurno narl baro zaatha putha is what she would mumble in the background- translation: tender coconuts taste best for this preparation) as the flesh of the tender coconuts is sweet, soft and simply melts in the mouth. No chewy coconuts were selected in our house either for curries or for snacks. They just stayed in a corner for making coconut oil in the summer months and mind you those coconuts made great coconut oil. Then I would pitch in to grate the palm sugar (jaggery). Those days jaggery used to come in big balls somewhere between 400g and 500g per ball. I would use a hammer to jam the ball to powder it. Mum would mix the required quantity of this powder into the coconut and add a couple of teaspoons of freshly powdered cardamom. This sweetened coconut was added to the boiled and sliced potatoes. She would then ask me to taste for sweetness and salt because even those days I believe I made a great tasting candidate (according to my mum, this was when I became very good at tasting all types of batters, all types of rice preparations, all types of curries , pickles, wines, preserves, jams and home-made sauces) . Once satisfied, she would dish out and that final product was utter bliss. I would serve myself a large portion of this simple, sweet, sublime breakfast and relish every mouthful and sometimes go for a second helping if there was any leftover. Each time I make these sweet potatoes, it brings me back fond memories of my mum's kitchen and also of sitting with my siblings with a bowl full of sweet potatoes. Happy memories of good old days...

The varieties of sweet potatoes we get in Sydney yield great results however each variety yields different results due to the difference in texture of the flesh. I trialled with the gold variety (Beauregard) however their bright orange flesh is more suitable for mashing and does not stay firm when boiled.

I have therefore used the red variety (Northern Star) with reddish/purple skin. This variety is firm once boiled and absorbs the flavours of cardamom well. It also stays firm when tossed with coconut and the jaggery mix but please be gentle when tossing as they are also delicate.

The varities mentioned above are available in Australia. For people outside Australia, you may wish to use a variety that stays firm when boiled to get the desired results.

Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Palm Sugar

Sweet Potatoes with Coconut and Palm Sugar (jaggery)

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
This is a mighty good breakfast or snack that is cheap, easy to prepare, versatile and has good nutritional benefits.  In this recipe, the sweet potatoes are boiled al dente, sliced or diced, seasoned and dressed up with palm sugar (jaggery), freshly grated coconut and finished with powdered cardamom.  I have used dark jaggery, but you may use light jaggery if you like a lighter shade.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2


  • 600 g Red sweet potatoes
  • ½ tsp. salt or to taste
  • 100-150 g freshly grated coconut
  • 70-80 g dark jaggery powder or to taste
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground cardamom powder


  • Wash the sweet potatoes and place them in a deep saucepan. Cover with cold water and cook on the stove top for 1 hour or until cooked through. Top up with warm water as and when required till the potatoes are cooked. They should be cooked al dente. Remove the sweet potatoes from heat and place them in a deep bowl. Rest for 5 minutes and then refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up.
  • Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into ½ cm rounds if they are small or dice them if they are large. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt or to your taste.
  • Gently combine coconut, jaggery and cardamom powder in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the sweet potatoes and toss gently. Season with salt if required.
  • Serve immediately with a cup of tea or coffee either for breakfast or as a snack or for afternoon tea.


  1. Red sweet potatoes are called Northern Star. They have a reddish/purple skin with bright white nutty tasting flesh. 
  2. If your sweet potatoes are small, please cook them for a lesser time.  The recipe mentions one hour because I had one large sweet potato that weighed 600g and it took nearly an hour to cook.  
  3. Powdered jaggery is available in your local Indian grocery stores.
Keyword Sweet Potatoes
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Hi, I’m Catherine!

I’m all about creating tasty Indian dishes with whatever’s on hand, even when I’m short on time or budget. I love turning simple ingredients into flavorful delights. Join me on this culinary adventure where we’ll explore the magic of Indian cuisine, one delicious dish at a time!

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