today's idea...

Tropical Gnocchi

A few months ago we had dinner with our foodie friends Steve & Jodi, and were very impressed with the delicious gnocchi they dished up for us.  It was maybe the 2nd time in my entire life I’d ever even eaten it.  So, we decided to try making our own.  This recipe is time-intensive, but if you are looking to impressive the guests (or yourself) it’s definitely worth a try.  Plus, it’s cheap, and all you need is a pot and a burner.

A few weeks ago I made some regular-potato gnocchi with basil sauce.  But this time I decided to try making a version for the tropics.  I’ve been compiling some information recently on the nutritional value of tropical vegetables for work, and incorporated several of the winners into this recipe.  The result: sweet potato gnocchi with creamy amaranth leaf sauce (translation: delicious dinner mega-loaded with vitamins and iron).  I will admit that white potatoes resulted in a lighter, fluffier gnocchi; but if you’re not too much of a texture-phobe the sweet potatoes are a more nutritious alternative.

Ok, here goes:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi


  • Sweet potatoes (1 kilo)
  • Flour (1 cup)
  • Egg (1)
  • Salt

  1. Boil sweet potatoes in large pot filled with water for about 30 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Remove from boiling water and immediately dunk in very cold water.  This makes the skins super-easy to remove…you can just pull them off with your fingers (see photo above).
  3. Mash sweet potatoes with a fork until fluffy; add salt to taste.
  4. Add about 3/4 cup of flour and gently knead the “dough” together (click here for detailed instructions).
  5. Roll pieces of dough into long logs, the thickness of your thumb.  Use extra flour to cover your hands and counter to keep it from sticking too much.
  6. With a floured knife, cut the log into pieces about 1/2 inch wide (see photos below).
  7. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  8. Using a large slotted spoon, lower the little-gnocchi-pillows into the boiling water about 20 at a time.
  9. When they are cooked, the gnocchis will bob to the surface of the water.  Remove with the slotted spoon and place in a bowl, continuing until all the gnocchi is cooked.

Creamy Amaranth Leaf Sauce

Do you know about amaranth?  This spinach-like stuff is incredibly good for you.  And it seems to grow everywhere in Africa, Asia, and South America (or you can grow your own by purchasing seeds here).  Seriously, it’s probably a weed in your yard.  A whole bag of it at our market was a mere 20 cents or so.  Anyway, it deserves to be sauced.  So here goes.


  • 1/4 kilogram amaranth leaves (or spinach, or any other greens you like)
  • 6 cloves of garlic (crushed/minced)
  • 2 T. oil (olive or vegetable)
  • 4 T. flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • salt & pepper
  1. You begin by making a white sauce.  Which sounds fancy and often uses butter, but I recently discovered this oil version that is easy-delicious.  To start, heat the oil in a pot on low heat.
  2. Add the flour, whisking well so it thickens.
  3. Slowly add the milk, little by little, whisking constantly.  As the sauce simmers for a few minutes, it will form a lovely thick, creamy sauce.
  4. Add the garlic, amaranth leaves, salt & pepper to taste.  In this batch I also added hot pepper flakes and basil leaves.
  5. Simmer just a minute or 2 so that the leaves wilt a bit.

And you’re done!  Spoon some sauce over your gnocchi, and dinner’s ready.


Posted by Daphne | Prey Veng, Cambodia



One thought on “Tropical Gnocchi

  1. AMAZING! I will definitely being giving this a go! Thanks!

    Posted by kaitlyn | May 25, 2011, 3:13 pm

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