Baked Sweet Potatoes with Garlic-Bonito Butter | The Rise Cookbook | Chef David Zilber

Diving into more African cuisine not just for Black History Month but for always! These are cuisines and stories that need to be told. This is another African inspired recipe from The Rise Cookbook by Marcus Samuelsson.

This recipe comes from a rising young chef named David Zilber who spent time working at one of the best restaurants in the world, Noma. There he learned all about fermentation and other Michelin-starred techniques. The recipe he shared is his riff on fermentation. Born in Toronto to a Jewish father and Afro Caribbean mother, what do expect from David than a super non-traditional dish! Those are some of the most exciting chefs. (I may be biased because I’m multicultural 🙂

I choose this recipe because I love sweet potato and it seemed really different. The challenge with some of these recipes is that I don’t have all the ingredients, but I made it happen. In place of fermented shrimp paste, I used bonito, or Japanese fish flakes (the ones you use for miso soup) and in place of sweet soy sauce I used soy sauce and a touch of maple syrup. The result was an addicting UMAMI flavor, or the fifth sense. I really enjoyed this treat because it felt like I was eating an appetizer at a trendy restaurant- you know where the flavors are bold and unapologetic. Nothing to hide here- it hits your senses in a good way. Just need that $15 cocktail to pair with it!

Here’s my riff on Chef David Zilber’s recipe:

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Garlic-Bonito Butter

Ingredients (for 2):

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp. bonito flakes 
  • ½ small avocado
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ Tbsp. soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. salt


  1. Roast sweet potatoes in foil in the oven at 375 F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or soft.
  2. Meanwhile, heat butter, garlic, and bonito flakes in a small pot. Simmer for 7-10 minutes or the garlic is soft and the butter is browned. Set aside to cool a few minutes.
  3. Then, blend cooled butter with remaining ingredients (except potato). Spoon butter onto the halved sweet potato or toast and enjoy this flavor punch! It’s great as an appetizer. Would be nice on white fish too.

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To your wholesome & healthy life, 


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