Sweet Potato Vegetable Curry
A flavorful and mildly spiced curry preparation with fiber-rich sweet potato and a hearty mix of vegetables. The cooking technique for sweet potato vegetable curry involves creating layers of flavors; it’s like building taste into it one step at a time. For this curry, I use an Indian blend of spices and aromatics as the first layer of piquancy. To help retain their vision appeal and create caramelization, the root vegetables are separately roasted in the oven, while the bell peppers and green peas provide textural balance and fresh color to the dish. Of course, you can always play around with the mix of vegetables, and I’ve provided some ideas in the recipe below.
The curry is best served hot off the pan in a bowl with either steamed, fragrant Basmati rice or Indian naan bread. But one of my personal favorite ways to eat curry is with a crusty baguette, perfect for soaking up the gorgeous, lightly spiced gravy. A drizzle of fresh lemon juice brings out the vibrant taste of the spices and sweet potato.
Like with most Indian food, I suggest pairing this curry with the crispness of a white Zinfandel, the well-rounded profile of a Gewürztraminer, or my own go-to, a good ole bubbly of choice. These wines complement the spices, tomatoes and vegetables nicely.
- Roasting the Root Vegetables
- ½ lb sweet potatoes or yam, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- ½ lb regular potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- ½ tbsp oil, canola or grapeseed
- ½ teaspoon each of salt and cracked black pepper
- Making the Curry
- 1 tbsp oil, canola or grapeseed
- 2 cups chopped red onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger root
- ½ teaspoon ground red chili
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup tomato sauce or puree, or 1½ cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- ½ cup diced bell peppers
- ½ cup green peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 tbsp cream
- 1 tbsp cilantro leaves
- lemon wedges, as garnish
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Coat the diced sweet potatoes and regular potatoes with oil, salt and pepper. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast the root vegetables at 400F for 20-25 minutes. Keep them aside till needed. Canola and grapeseed are great choices for the oil used in Indian cooking, but any neutral-flavored oil that you have on hand is fine. Feel free to use only sweet potatoes for this dish, or replace the regular potatoes with carrots or parsnips.
In a sauté pan on a medium flame, heat the oil. Add onions and sauté for 4-5 minutes till the onion is well cooked to a reddish-brown color. Next, add the ginger and garlic, stirring for a minute or so.
Mix in ground red chili, cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt. If the aromatics start sticking to the pan, add a couple of tablespoons of water. Cook the spices for another minute and then toss in the tomatoes, bell pepper and green peas, along with 1 cup of water. Cook the curry for about 5-7 minutes on a medium-low heat so the vegetables can soften and the flavors get a chance to come together nicely. Add more water (½ cup at a time) as needed.
You’ll know the curry is done when it gets a deep red color. Taste for salt and gently stir in the roasted root vegetables, so they retain their shape. The consistency of the curry is based on your personal preference. For a more soupy curry, add more water and adjust the salt, if required. Finish off the curry with the cream and chopped cilantro. Cream can be replaced with ghee (clarified butter) for a more authentic Indian flavor.
Serve freshly made in a shallow bowl with lemon wedges on the side.
Peri Avari is a native of cosmopolitan Mumbai in western India, based in the SF Bay Area. She draws on the decades of skills and knowledge gained from working in the global professional food industry for two decades, from the Taj Hotels in India to owning a corporate catering business in Silicon Valley, CA. Peri is passionate about promoting Indian food for its simplicity, stunning flavors and health benefits through her blog Peri’s Spice Ladle, as well as cooking classes and online courses. She grew up eating Parsi food, a unique Indian regional cuisine that offers dishes with a Persian touch. Connect with Peri at periavari.com or on instagram @perisspiceladle.