sweet potato, batata, boniato
Kamote is a cultivar of sweet potato that has somewhat dry, bland, yellowish to white flesh. It is a dicotyledonous plant having the scientific name Ipomoea batatas. It is not closely related to the potato, which has the scientific name Solanum tuberosum.
It is technically not a yam either. The sweet potato belongs to the scientific family Convolvulaceae, while the yam belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family. The sweet potato is native to the tropical parts of South America, while the yam is native to Africa. Kamote was introduced to the Philippines from Latin America during the Spanish colonial period.
If you see the flower of a kamote plant, you’ll understand why it is related to the garden flower called morning glory. They both belong to the genus Ipomoea.
Talbos ng kamote are young leaves of the camote plant, which are popularly recognized as a great source of vitamin A. Filipinos simply boil the leaves and serve with boiled rice as a plain vegetable dish.
The root of the kamote is a major crop in the Philippines. It can be simply boiled and then eaten with brown sugar. Boiled camote can be mashed and fed to infants. A recent invention is kamote fries (prepared like French fries). Kamote-cue or Kamote-q is large chunks of the root that are deep-fried with brown sugar. You can also bake pies using this sweet potato.
Unrelated to the species of sweet potato described above, the Tagalog word for ‘cassava’ is kamoteng-kahoy (“tree camote”).