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I'm working on recreating a curry-like stew which is based on a thick sauce made out of disintegrated/dissolved sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Is it enough to just let the sweet potatoes cook to get them to disintegrate, or is there some other step to this that will make them "melt" into the sauce?

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This depends a bit on the kind of result you are aiming for, generally speaking most people struggle to keep their sweet potatoes "in shape" and prevent disintegrating:

  • For a slightly textured result, cooking your peeled and cubed sweet potatoes long enough should suffice, just make sure you have enough liquid in your dish and stir every now and then to help them break them up a bit.
  • If you want smoother results, stir vigurously or use a potato masher and "stab" your stew a bit once everything is very soft - stop when you reach the desired "chunkyness"/"smoothness".
  • But for a totally creamy and homogenous sauce you will need a food mill, a food processor or - even simpler - an imersion blender.
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  • I know from puree making that you sometimes don't want to upset potatoes too much because the starch will get out and stuff gets sticky. Do you think this might be an issue here?
    – nitzanms
    Dec 13, 2015 at 15:27
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    @nitzanms The enzyme responsible for making potatoes gummy is amylose. Sweet potatoes are high in amylase, which breaks down amylose. That gummy quality potatoes can sometimes get is a non-issue (or almost a non-issue) in sweet potatoes.
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 13, 2015 at 15:43
  • AmylOse is a carbohydrate (specifically a subunit of starches). Is that what you meant?
    – nitzanms
    Dec 13, 2015 at 17:01
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    @nitzanms it came up recently as I researched potatoes for another question, that one about mashed potatoes. cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/63010/… Also: culinarylore.com/food-science:why-are-sweet-potatoes-sweet
    – Jolenealaska
    Dec 13, 2015 at 17:10
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    @Stephje yep, my first thought was "just look at it from an awkward angle and it WILL fall apart :)" Dec 13, 2015 at 22:51
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This would be a great job for an immersion blender.

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Consider it a great excuse to buy a really handy gadget :) On Amazon you can find good ones for as little as $20 or you can spend over $100 for all of the bells and whistles.

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