sweet potato curry

sweet potato curry
comforting cosy curry

It’s a grey and very rainy day, “bucketing it down” as we say in England, and I’ve lost that lovely feeling that we were heading into summer! This sweet potato curry is normally a winter warmer but it’s a delicious comfort food, really easy to make and thick, creamy and still full of fresh ingredients. Somehow it feels appropriate and right for the eating (and sharing) today.

Recently I have been wandering and wondering down memory lanes, remembering some of my food experiences growing up in the Middle East.

In the winter the street vendors would change the food they sold – there was a little bit of seasonal change in North Africa. I ate my first corn-on-the-cob from a street vender – I was amazed that it was so flavoursome, sweet and juicy under the charring. Nothing like the anaemic, watery sweetcorn I’d been served as part of school dinners during the two terms I went to school in Bristol. There, I’d been a resident of “The Slow Table” for kids who were reluctant to eat the ‘dinners’ they were served. I discovered my appetite in North Africa as suddenly food was flavoursome, fresh, organic and not boiled to smithereens! I remember sucking the juice from freshly macheted sugar canes. I remember eating my first sweet potato, wrapped in charred foil from a street vendor one winter. It was a very basic, unadulterated baked sweet potato – but I struggled to believe that this hot, sweet, orange flesh shared a name with the normal white potatoes I was used to eating. My mum disliked sweet potatoes so we didn’t have them at home.

This curry is a celebration of that first sweet potato experience, it’s made with some of my favourite North African ingredients. It’s really thick and creamy, with wonderful North African spices – both ground and whole. The coconut milk mutes and mellows the sweetness of the sweet potato and the lentils give it an depth and earthiness. I love the textures in this curry too, the softness of the sweet potato and the grain of the lentils, the little bursts of cumin when you bite into a seed. I stir in a load of spinach once the curry is cooked and off the heat, for a fresh green, iron-rich contrast. It works really well. If you’re a coriander-fan bung a load of fresh leaves over the top too.

I made this curry for my parents recently and my mum was surprised as she really enjoyed it, (she’s still not a fan of sweet-potato) – she even asked for the recipe! I think all the other ingredients really compliment the sweet potato so it’s flavour doesn’t dominate or overwhelm them. I hope you enjoy it too and that it will bring some North African sunshine into your kitchen this grey, rainy day!

We love ours with rice, cooked with cloves and cardamon pods – there is a recipe here for basmati rice. I tend to use brown rice now – which takes about twice as long to cook but is deliciously nutty and flavoursome. But it’s the same principle – rinsing the rice, frying it in oil with cloves and cardamon before adding the boiling water. We’ve also enjoyed this sweet potato curry with home-made pittas, and gluten-free gram-flour & fresh coriander chapatis. Let us know how you eat yours!

sweet potato curry

  • Yield:

    serves 2
  • Cooking Method:

    frying & simmering
  • Prep Time:

    15 mins
  • Cook Time:

    30 mins
sweet potato curry

This sweet potato curry is really easy and pretty speedy to make, just make sure you cut up your sweet potato into small chunks. The bigger the chunks are the longer it takes to cook. It's a proper winter warmer with great flavours and texture; comfort food at it's best. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs oil (we use coconut oil)
  • 1 Tbs cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 chillies chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 huge sweet potato or 2 big ones (cut into small chunks 1cm³)
  • 1 C split red lentils 
  • 1 tsp vegan swiss bullion
  • ½ C passata 
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • ½ C water
  • 2 massive handfuls of fresh spinach

Method:

  1. Place a heavy based saucepan on a low flame and add the oil, seeds, ground spices followed by the fresh chillies and garlic. 

  2. Once the oil is infused stir in the chopped sweet potato and the lentils. Make sure that they are coated in the spicy mix. Then stir in the swiss bullion. 

  3. When the sweet potato and lentils feel like they are sticking to the pan, stir in the passata followed by the coconut milk. Place a lid on the sauce pan and leave to cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing sticks. If you find that the veg are sticking, or you need to cook the curry a little longer due to the sweet potato being bigger chunks and not yet soft, add some water. I prefer to keep this curry thick and creamy.

  4. When the lentils and sweet potato are soft, you know that they are cooked and you can take your curry off the heat. Stir in the fresh spinach leaves and serve immediately. I sprinkle a load of fresh coriander over the top sometimes too. 

Notes:

This dish goes really well with rice

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