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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.