Sometimes, life calls for something magical, comforting; something that positively glows with good health and delicious radiance. That, my friends, is the sweet potato. I know I’m probably preaching to the converted, but I feel like we should take a moment to truly appreciate this truly magnificent tuber. They’re pretty rad.
If my childhood was dominated by white potatoes (mashed potato with tomato sauce – by itself or in sandwiches – was the staple of my youth), then I think adulthood is going to be the time of the sweet potato. I eat them constantly. In curries, stews, soups, or tagines. Roasted, mashed, sautéed. A sweet potato has the ability to make a mediocre meal brilliant. Don’t feel like eating another salad? Put some slices of roasted sweet potato on it, and BAM! Salad problems solved. On top of sweet potato’s salad-busting abilities, it is also a nutritional powerhouse – the kind of tuber a girl can love, and it loves her back too.
Boiled and mashed sweet potato is my go-to meal when I’m sick and the thought of anything else would be just too much. Sweet potato also makes cakes and scones and pies, and if I could sweet potato in a biscuit, I probably would. It was a fucking brilliant day when I realised that some burger places had started serving sweet potato fries. Genius.
It’s almost winter here, so I’m cooking lots of comfort-filled food. Curry is definitely comfort food. I’m willing to bet you decent money that over 50% of the time, when I ask Adam what he feels like for dinner, he’ll say a curry. At which point, I sigh and grumble about how curries are so involved, and so rich, and I’m too lazy to make a decent one. Well, my friends, do I have a curry for you. Sweet potato jalfrezi not only includes my beloved root, but is quite possibly the ultimate curry for the lazy girl. And because it’s a tomato-based curry, you avoid the heavy richness that cream-based curries tend to deliver.
This really is a great, great recipe (even better the next day). There are lots of serving options, which I outline below, and it’s most certainly a make-ahead friendly meal. On a wintry day, with rain, grey skies and general miserableness, I couldn’t imagine anything better for dinner.
A few other sweet-potato-riffic recipes:
A few more ideas for using sweet potato (because sweet potato should go with everything):
- Mashed sweet potato (my go-to sickness food)
- Whole-roasted sweet potato (a sweet potato is a meal in itself)
- Thin slices of sweet potato, roasted (topping for salads, soups)
- Slices of roasted sweet potato in sandwiches
Sweet Potato Jalfrezi
adapted from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook
- Don’t be tempted to add a lot of liquid (you might think you want to cover the vegetables, but you don’t). The sauce won’t thicken if you add extra water.
- I prefer the curry served with brown rice (or quinoa) and lemon wedges. You can however, serve it topped with fresh mango as well. (I imagine a dollop of cashew sour cream wouldn’t go astray either.)
- This is a dish which tastes better as it ages. I often cook it 3-4 hours before it’s needed, then turn off the heat and put the lid on. I give it a quick reheat just before serving, and it’s good to go. Naturally, it makes superb leftovers.
- Also, the second vegetable (zucchini in this case) is pretty interchangeable. The original recipe used cauliflower, and I imagine little baby yellow squashes, green beans, or aubergine would work too. The capsicum however, is not – it’s responsible for the delightful sweet-spicy-tangy thing that happens.
- 1 tbsp olive oil/sunflower oil/coconut oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Jalfrezi spice mix (see below)
- 800 g tin of diced tomatoes
- 1 very large sweet potato (~500 g), chopped large (see photos for size)
- 2 zucchini (courgette) (~500 g), chopped large (see photo)
- 1 red capsicum/pepper, deseeded and sliced into 1 cm lengths
- 1 small bunch coriander, leaves picked and stems finely chopped
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- lemon wedges, to serve
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until soft (about 10 minutes). Add the spice mix, and cook, stirring for another minute or so. Add tomatoes, 3/4 cup water, sweet potatoes, zucchini, capsicum and coriander stems. Season to taste. Return heat to medium, cover, and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer until vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened (usually another 40 minutes or so, depending on how large you cut your vegetables). Transfer jalfrezi to a serving dish and scatter with the coriander leaves. Serve with lemon wedges and brown rice or quinoa.
Jalfrezi Spice Mix
makes about 3 tablespoons
- This is a mild jalfrezi spice mix. If you prefer more heat, add cayenne to taste. That being said, I served this to a friend who eats more chilli than us, and he said that it was a good level of heat.
- 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
- 2 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 3/4 tsp ground cardamom seeds
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Mix all the spices together. Store in an airtight container, in a dark place. Keeps for about 1-2 months.