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Choctaw Sweet Potatoes

The Choctaw are a Native American people originally occupying what is now the Southeastern United States (modern day day Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana). Historically the Choctaw raised crops of corn, beans and squash and developed many recipes that are still prepared to this day.


  • 5 medium size sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying


Bring to boil 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Set aside one or two of the potatoes, and cut the remaining into one-inch cubes. Grate the reserved potatoes and set aside once again.

Boil the potato cubes until they become fork-tender. Toss in the grated potatoes during the final minute or two of the boil. Strain and return to the saucepan.

Mash the potatoes leaving some chunks and any grated bits. Stir in 1 cup of sugar while the potatoes are still hot, trying to evenly dissolve the sugar. It’s ok if it doesn’t completely dissolve before the mixture cools. When the potato and sugar mixture has sufficiently cooled, use your hands to mix in the flour, then squeeze and form two-inch balls. If the mixture doesn’t hold its consistency, add a little more flour. Form two-inch balls and set aside.

Heat a generous portion of vegetable oil in the bottom of a medium size frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pat the balls in between your palms, forming a pancake, and carefully place the pancake in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on one side, then flip and fry the other side. Remove from the oil and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

Choctaw Village near the Chefuncte, by Francois Bernard, 1869, Peabody Museum
You can find more cultural recipes, stories and activities in the book The Cultured Chef: An International Cookbook for Kids