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Dulce de batata is eaten as a breakfast, dessert, or sweet snack and is made from a mixture of sweet potato, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. It is common in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina, though variations of it can be found in other countries in South and Central America, where the sweet potato is endemic. Once prepared, dulce de batata has the consistency of a thick jelly.
The main ingredient in dulce de batata is sweet potato. There are a few different species of sweet potato that are commonly cultivated and eaten, and any can be used to make this dish. Sweet potatoes range in color from white to yellow to dark orange. Generally, the darker varieties are sweeter than the lighter ones. Though it has "potato" in its name, the sweet potato is unrelated to regular potatoes and is in the same family as the morning glory.
Before they can be made into dulce de batata, sweet potatoes must first be peeled and cooked. They can be cooked in plain water and boiled until soft. Adding lemon juice will help the sweet potatoes keep their color while adding some sourness to the dulce de batata.
Once the sweet potatoes have been pre-cooked, they are then boiled in a syrup made from water and sugar. The sweet potatoes need to be mashed into the syrup so that the dish is smooth and the whole dish must reduce until it has thickened. Adding vanilla and cinnamon to the syrup is also common.
After the mixture is cooked, it can be transferred to a dish to cool. The dulce de batata will take the form of whatever dish it is placed in and, once cool, can be turned out upside-down and sliced. Dulce de batata is not particularly firm, so shallow dishes are often used so that it can hold it's shape while sitting one a plate.
In addition to this standard form of dulce de batata, there is also a version of the dish that incorporates chocolate. The chocolate can be melted into the sweet potato and syrup mixture after it has reduced but before it has cooled, allowing it to spread throughout. Both plain and chocolate dulce de batata are often eaten on bread, as a jelly, or with mild cheeses.
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