Monday 19 March 2018

Forkful's easy suppers: Roasted sweet potato curry

Roasted sweet potato curry. Photo: Mark Duggan.
Roasted sweet potato curry. Photo: Mark Duggan.

Aoife McElwain

It's been a blustery, wet week for most of us in Ireland, meaning that last week's salad optimism has been placed firmly back in the pantry until at least next month. This week, I'm back on the curry bandwagon.

I've been making a lot of curries this year, trying to get a solid base sauce perfected. In the past, I've struggled with consistency of sauce, especially when I go for the coconut sauce base. I found that a tablespoon of tomato puree can help that. Though I've been experimenting with coconut milk sauces and have found them deliciously sweet, my personal preference is for the more thick and savoury influence of a tomato base.

What I'm starting to really love about a good curry is how adaptable a basic sauce can be. Once you've found the right combination of spices and sauce, whether it's mustard seeds, chilli and chopped tomatoes or korma curry powder and coconut milk, you can play around with the main ingredient. Serve the sauce with chargrilled chicken or roasted cauliflower, with white fish or roasted aubergines. Almost all curries work with rice or naan on the side, or both.

This week, I've gone with sweet potato to bulk up my curry sauce, which I've roasted while the sauce is coming together. The rice method is a foolproof approach, and the addition of the turmeric and cinnamon make it a great addition to your platter of curry accompaniments.

Roasted sweet potato curry

Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes


1 sweet potato

Vegetable oil

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon brown or black mustard seeds

1 onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

2 teaspoons of curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 x 400ml tin of tomatoes

1 x 400ml tin of chickpeas

For the rice

175g basmati rice

25g butter

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of turmeric

Cinnamon stick

250ml water

To serve

Dollop of natural yoghurt

Lime wedges

Fresh coriander



1. Pre-heat your oven to 200c/180c fan/Gas Mark 6. Peel and chop the sweet potato into 2cm cubes, and transfer to a roasting dish. Drizzle with two tablespoons of vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before roasting for 25 minutes. Roast in tray with oil, salt and pepper for 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large deep frying pan over a medium to high heat. Fry the mustard seeds for 1 minute. Add the finely diced onion and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent but not browned.

3. Next, add the curry powder, coriander, turmeric spices plus two tablespoons of chopped tomatoes from the tin of chopped tomatoes. Mix to a paste and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the rest of the tinned tomatoes and stir. Fill the empty tomato tin halfway with hot water and pour it into the sauce. Bring it to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the rice by placing the rice, butter, sugar, turmeric and cinnamon stick in a saucepan with the 250ml of water. The water should be at room temperature. Bring to the boil and give everything a good mix before covering and simmering for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, keep covered and leave to steam for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, fluff up with a fork and then leave covered in the warm saucepan until ready to serve.

5. Put the roasted sweet potatoes into the curry sauce. Drain the chickpeas before placing them into the curry sauce. Bubble for another five minutes, until the chickpeas are heated through and the sauce has thickened. Serve with natural yoghurt, naan bread, lime wedges, fresh coriander and your yellow rice on the side.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Mustard Seeds: Black and brown mustard seeds are used a lot in Indian cooking and can be found in the spice section of any good specialist shop or a well stocked supermarket. Pick up some yellow mustard seeds too so that you can make your own wholegrain mustard someday too.

Photo: Mark Duggan 

Irish Independent

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