Maui Food and Dining

Aloha Sweet Potatoes – A Luau Celebration Staple

November 2, 2010, 3:49 PM HST
Listen to this Article
1 minute
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Photo Credit:

Sweet potatoes have been a staple at luau celebrations since the first one was held in the 1800’s.  This starchy vegetable originated in South America and spread through Polynesia, Hawaii and New Zealand via early Polynesians who are thought to have traveled to South America and back.  Archeologists believe it is also possible that South Americans traveled through the Pacific.  They are a Hawaiian favorite and are among the most nutritious of vegetables.

Considering their fiber content, and the levels of beta carotene, vitamins C and B6, iron and calcium, the Center for Science in the Public Interest ranked sweet potatoes as the vegetable highest in nutritional value in 1992.  They are also considered beneficial for diabetics, as studies have shown they stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance.

You can serve Aloha Sweet Potatoes at your luau alongside Kalua Pig and Chicken Luau, or on Sunday night as a nice side dish to flank steak, roasted chicken or any flakey white fish.

Serves: 8 as a side dish

Prep Time: 5 minutes


Cook Time: 45 minutes

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut


Boil sweet potatoes in their skins for about 25 minutes or until tender.  Let them cool, then peel and cut into 1 1/2 inch thick slices. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Stir in brown sugar and water and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add sweet potatoes to saucepan.  Cook over low heat and toss gently until sweet potatoes are glazed. Sprinkle with coconut before serving.

This recipe was adapted from

Make the most of your Maui vacation with these top-rated activities: Maui Top 20: Maui Visitor & Tourism Information
E-Mail Newsletters Receive daily or weekly updates via e-mail. Subscribe Now
News Alerts Breaking news alerts on your mobile device. Get the App


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments