Category Archives: Kitchen Disasters

A Lesson in How Not to Make Gnocchi

Sweet Potato & Spinach Gnocchi






WordPress tells me that KookyCookyng “stats are booming” and that I am getting lots of traffic. This is very humbling to know and I welcome all my readers, old and new, with open arms.

In light of this positive development, you may wonder why I would want to post an experiment gone wrong.

When I had started this blog, I had told myself that I would share my kitchen successes as well as disasters. Talking about the latter would be a useful exercise for me (1) in case I want to attempt a particular recipe again, (2) in case my readers can take away any learning from my failure, and, (3) in case my readers can put me right based on their own experience.

While it is nice to celebrate triumph, it is equally important to acknowledge failure. And today’s gnocchi recipe was a complete failure, although you wouldn’t think so looking at those innocent looking pillows above!

I have some sorghum flour in my larder and was wondering how  to use it in an innovative way. Suddenly, I thought of gnocchi and so searched for sorghum gnocchi. Seems like it was not a kooky idea after all. There are some gnocchi recipes out there which call for sorghum flour.

Next, I thought of substituting potato with sweet potato. That was also a tried and tested option by some bloggers.

So far, so good.

Than, I came across a recipe for sweet potato and spinach gnocchi. My mind told me that this was even better (as in healthier) so why not give this a go.

So I boiled some sweet potato. Also boiled some spinach, squeezed out all the water and chopped it finely. Got some sorghum flour and got started on the dough which came together totally fine (or so I thought the time).

I managed to make ropes out of the dough, cut them into pieces and even indent them with a fork for that gnocchi effect.

Next, I refrigerated the gnocchi for a few hours.

The plan was to serve these gnocchi with some spiced up tomato sauce so I got started on the sauce which turned out totally delicious.

The excitement was building.

I put water on boil for the gnocchi and when it got to the rolling stage, I carefully dropped them in, one at a time.

Now, at this stage, I expected them to start surfacing but they didn’t. I didn’t want to disturb them and since I was supposed to boil them for only 3 minutes, I was standing over the hob to keep an eye on them.

Suddenly, I could see the water going cloudy. I put a fork in the water only to discover that  all the gnocchi had disappeared!!! They had basically broken down in the water.

It was disaster time.

As the tomato sauce was ready and waiting, I consulted my flatmate friend (I was cooking for us both and she was a very understanding guinea pig!) and we both decided to throw in some spaghetti in the same water; with sweet potato, spinach and sorghum, it was very nutritious so we thought it would be a shame to waste it.

The dinner was salvaged by the fact that the spaghetti cooked well in this – what I can only describe as – gnochhi water and it tasted divine with the tomato sauce.

When I look back over the recipe in my mind, I think the thing that went wrong was the fact that I didn’t use enough sorghum flour. For 250 grams sweet potato and a bunch of spinach, I used only 2 to 3 tablespoons. I should have used much more.

If I had sauteed the gnocchi in some olive oil (which I almost did before deciding to boil them), it would have been fine. And next time I make gnocchi, I will test a couple in boiling water first before adding the rest of the batch. Else the saute route is the one I will take.

All’s well that ends well and this is one time that I can honestly say to these sweet and innocent pillows:

mea culpa; it is not you, it is me

But I haven’t given up on gnocchi yet. If anything, this failure has made me even more determined to master the art of gnocchi making!