Okinawa Sweet Potatoes Recipe (Hawaiian Purple Potatoes with Coconut Milk)

Okinawa sweet potatoes
Cathy Scolia / Getty Images
  • 55 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: about 4 servings
Ratings (7)

This recipe comes from an anonymous little old Hawaiian lady who apparently shares it freely to those who will listen. But I think I'm getting ahead of myself here, so let me back up.

This Hawaiian purple sweet potato recipe actually came to me from Sony, a food enthusiast and vegetarian cuisine fan from Kaua'i, who tells me that this particular little old lady pointed out some dark purple potatoes to him at a grocery store in Kaua'i one day and told him how to make this popular Hawaiian recipe for purple Okinawa sweet potatoes with coconut milk. And so he did, and then he shared this recipe with me to share with all of you.

The recipe calls for purple Okinawa sweet potatoes mashed with coconut milk, garlic, sea salt (kosher salt would also be ok to use here), a dash of black pepper and, to top it all off, a dash of traditional Hawaiian aloha, which is essential in any Hawaiian meal! You could, of course, swap out the purple Okinawa sweet potatoes for any kind of sweet potatoes and still have a delicious vegetarian and vegan side dish. 

Sony insists that you use sea salt for this recipe, or preferably Hawaiian sea salt, if you can find it! If you like purple Okinawa sweet potatoes, then scroll down for more Okinawa sweet potato recipes to try. This recipe for mashed Hawaiian sweet potatoes is vegetarian, vegan and all of the ingredients are gluten-free as well. 

What You'll Need

  • 3-4 purple Okinawa sweet potatoes
  • About 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/3 tsp. sea salt, to taste
  • Dash of black pepper to taste
  • a little bit of aloha

How to Make It

Peel the potatoes and boil in water for about 45 minutes, until soft. Okinawa sweet potatoes take longer than regular potatoes to cook, so make sure they are quite soft.

Drain the water and mash with coconut milk. Add more coconut milk until desired consistency is reached. Add garlic and sea salt (kosher salt would also be ok to use here) and a touch of black pepper, to taste. 

Being a traditional Kauaian recipe, this is to be served with a little bit of aloha.

Recipe notes:

  • Okinawa sweet potatoes are sometimes called Okinawan potaotoes (with an "n" at the end) and also sometimes called just plain Hawaiian sweet potatoes. They look like normal sweet potatoes on the outside but are a vibrant purple hue on the inside. 
  • Shopping for Okinawa sweet potatoes: If you're not lucky enough to live in Hawaii, check out the largest Asian import grocery or gourmet foods grocery store you can find for your best shot at finding these where you live. 
  • See also: Hawaiian Vegan Poke Bowl Recipe