Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry

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My best friend makes this for Thanksgiving every year, but this year she was deep in roasting lamb, making brioche, and baking pies and brought the ingredients over with her recipe and said, “Here.” Well, not quite so peremptorily, but you get the idea. Knowing that her lamb is the most delicious dish that has ever existed on the planet, I was happy to help. Besides, my contribution was two pickled salads that I had made the day before so the brine could work its magic. This is a recipe that originates with Nigella Lawson and was printed in The New York Times years ago. It has been a tradition ever since.

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  • 2 med red onions, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 serrano pepper – don’t remove the seeds, you want the heat.
  • 2-3 inches of ginger, peeled
  • 3 TBSP canola oil

Chop onions, garlic, serrano pepper, and ginger. Sauté in canola oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.

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  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 2/3 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cardamon pods, crushed
  • salt to taste

Add spices, stir and mix. Let bloom by heating so the aroma fills the room. This releases the aromatic oils so they infuse more flavor.

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  • 3 med sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 3/4 cup coconut milk (light) (1 can)

Add sweet potatoes and stir until covered by spices. Add coconut milk. Raise heat to medium and simmer.

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  • 1 TBSP tamarind paste
  • 2 1/4 cup vegetable broth (can use water if you don’t have broth)

Heat broth and stir tamarind paste in hot liquid until dissolved (You can use a microwave). Tamarin paste is super sticky, so you want to be sure it is completely dissoved in the hot liquid before you add it to you pan of simmering sweet potatoes. Keep simmering, partially covered for about 25 minutes. You want the sweet potatoes to be tender, but not soft.

  • 4 to 5 cups cooked chickpeas

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Add the chickpeas, stirring them into the sweet potatoes and making sure they heat through. Then remove.

  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro

Top with cilantro when serving.

This is a warm, slightly spicy dish rich in the hearty, warm flavors of fall with the beautiful browns and oranges of fall as well. It is delicious, hearty, and a great substitute for the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy.  It is a huge meal, serving 12, or great for leftovers. It just tastes even richer the next day.

 

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Spicy Chicken Coconut Soup

Spicy Chicken Cocoanut Soup

I won’t presume to call this a Thai Tom Kha Gai soup because I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients for anything approaching a true Thai soup, but it does borrow inspiration from the delicious Tom Kha Gai of Thailand.

I bought a delicious free-range fryer and cooked with an onion and a bay leaf until the meat fell off the bones. This gave me about 3 quarts of chicken broth and 8 cups of chicken after I removed all the meat from the bones. From that I will make two soups and several salads.

For this soup, I diced 1/2 onion and 3 cloves of garlic and 2 inches of galangal. I sauteed them in 2 TBSP of olive oil for 5 minutes or so. I added a sliced bell pepper (actually 1/2 of a yellow and 1/2 of a red bell pepper) and a 2 cups of sliced mushrooms. Then I added about 1.5 TBSP of sriracha and let it all cook. After about 10 minutes, I added 1.5 quarts of my chicken broth and 1 12 oz can of light coconut milk, some salt and pepper and let it all cook about 20 minutes. Then I added 1 chopped tomato and 2 cups of chopped up chicken from what I had removed from the fryer. I let cook a few more minutes so they were warmed through and squeezed the juice of two fresh limes in to soup before serving.

This is a delicious soup with many layers of flavor from the dry peppery feeling of the galangal to the sweetness of the coconut milk, from the heat of the sriracha to the to mild bell peppers and hearty mushrooms and the tart freshness of the limes. The individual components keep their flavor and marry beautifully.

This makes about 8 servings.