It's official. Fall is finally here. Time for pumpkins, comfy sweaters, folliage and apple picking. Today, I started to haul out my warm weather clothes and boots and decided to make a warm, hearty sweet potato curry to go along with my cozy wardrobe change.
I find a good curry to be the perfect vegetarian food. It's filling, satisfying, and chock full of healthy herbs, spices and vegetables. There are many types of curries -- Thai curries and Indian curries, green curries, red curries, yellow curries. Spicy, sweet, or a little bit of both. While all are delicious and unique, thai curries seem to be the favorite in our household right now, with panang and massaman topping the list. Both are made with a peanut and coconut base, giving them a nutty and sweet flavor.
I've had difficulty with store-bought curry pastes in the past, because a number of them contain fish as well as preservatives, excess salt, and soy products. I'd never made a curry paste before today, but now that I have, I'll never go back. The freshness of ingredients creates an incredibly bright flavor that will rival what you'll find at your favorite local Thai joint. After scouring the internet for inspiration I landed upon this delicious looking recipe for Massaman curry from Connoisseurus Veg. I changed the ingredients slightly, but much of the success I had with this dish can be attributed to her creative post. You'll notice that I left chilis out of this recipe (I can't handle much heat), but if you like spice I'd recommend adding 2-5 soaked and de-seeded thai chilis to your curry paste.
The great thing about curry is that it can be adapted for all different diets. I don't do well with soy so I didn't put tofu in this recipe, but you can add any protein as you see fit, as well as any other veggies. I topped mine with a mixture of scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds and crushed peanuts, and served the dish with a side of jasmine rice. We had jasmine in the house, but I imagine it would also be delicious with other whole grains such as quinoa, barley or farro. If you have a peanut allergy, I'd love to hear how this dish turns out with almonds as your base instead of peanuts.
Both peanuts and coconuts are warming foods, making this dish great for cold weather. And while both of these ingredients are fairly high in fat content, they are well balanced by the vast number of herbs, spices and vegetables that accompany them in this dish. There are over 10 herbs and spices used in the curry paste alone, including the powerful anti-inflammatories turmeric, cinnamon and ginger. Cilantro (found in this dish both in fresh form as well as seed form -- coriander) aids in digestion and is also commonly believed to help remove toxins from the body.
Once again, this recipe is adapted from Connoisseurus Veg's recipe, found by clicking here.
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. cardamom
- 1 inch fresh tumeric, peeled
- 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
- 1 three inch piece fresh ginger root, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 shallot
- 1 1/2 tsp. lime rind
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup coconut nectar
- juice of 2 limes
- 3-4 keffir lime leaves
Sweet Potato Curry
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup homemade curry paste (above)
- 2 tbsp. organic tomato paste
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
- 1 russet potato, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds or cubes
- 1 cup fresh green beens, chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- sliced scallion, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds + cilantro, for garnish
total time: 45 minutes
yeild: 5-6 servings
Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until ingredients form a paste. Remove and set aside.
Sweet Potato Curry
Heat coconut milk in a medium saucepan until it comes to a simmer. Add curry paste and tomato paste, stirring to incorporate.
Add both potatoes, stir and cover. Let simmer for 5 minutes, then add carrot. Re-cover and let simmer for an additional 5 minutes. At this point, test your sauce. If you're looking for a bit more flavor, add 1/4 cup more curry paste.
Add green beans and red bell pepper and let simmer for 5 minutes more until vegetables become tender and sauce thickens.
Check to make sure potatoes are done, and if so stir in fresh cilantro then remove from heat. If they need a little more time, continue testing every 2-3 minutes.
Transfer to bowls and top with scallion, crushed peanuts, fresh cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve with rice of choice.