To sum it all up, here’s a summary:
- Two sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes.
- One can pureed pumpkin
- One chili of your choosing
- One large onion
- Three cloves of garlic
- A big hunk of ginger
- Enough olive oil to keep your stuff from burning
- Cumin,Coriander, Cilantro, Fennel, Cardamom, Garam Masala, Turmeric
I love Indian food. Yes, despite my pale skin and nomenclature, I am able to consume foods other than Guinness and potatoes. Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m fairly sure I could survive indefinitely that way, but I love eating all kinds of food. During my unemployment, I essentially lived off dahl, though I didn’t veganize the recipe I just linked to. Lentils, such an incredible cheap source of protein, nutrients and general culinary pleasure… it was a match made in heaven for the price.
Tonight, it was deemed my night to cook, and a healthier curry was requested. In the past, the only curry I’d ever made was eggplant curry, or in Indian, Baingin Bharta. I’ve always loved the name of this dish, because when reading it, I can only think some Indian dude who listened to too much hip hop was like “eggplant curry? Yo, that Bharta’s straight up baingin, son!” I wanted to go out of my curry comfort zone. I wanted to make something I’d never had before. In the past I’d heard of butternut squash curry, and thought of making one. I did a quick few Google searches to get an idea of where to start, but upon visiting my local grocery store found that they were all out of butternut squash. I needed something else to currify.
I remember reading about a sweet potato curry recipe once upon a time and thought I’d take a stab at it.
In making my curry, I decided to start from where I knew. In making dahl, I’d always started off with my own version of an Indian Mirepoix: Garlic, Onion and Ginger. I went ahead and sauteed these in Trader Joe’s’ Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil. If nothing else, Trader Joe’s has ridiculously good deals on tasty olive oil. Additionally, I minced a cherry pepper and a clump of cilantro. I used a cherry pepper rather than a jalapeno, because a) I was familiar with its heat level, and b) I thought its inherent sweetness would round out the flavor of the soup vs the flavor of a green pepper like a jalapeno. For a second, I thought about using a habanero, but thought it would be better to make the food edible vs. me and my girlfriend crawling around our front lawn in agony with 40 foot flames erupting from our gullets .
As the flavor foundation of the soup (onion, chili, garlic and ginger) merged together, it was time to take the soup to the next level with additional flavoring. I added seasonings, starting off with some of my favorite C-words. No, I’m not talking about the Real Housewives of any particular high income area of the country, I’m talking about cardamom, coriander, and cumin. About a half a teaspoon of each. I then added fennel, as it’s a spice frequently used in Indian cuisine, and I figured its licorice-like and sweet flavor would help contribute to the sweetness of the dish. I stirred the mixture around until the fragrance of the spices began filling the room. Lastly, I added garam masala ( a glorified mix of Indian seasonings) and a pinch of turmeric for additional color and a hint of earthy flavor.
At this point, I added the sweet potatoes, which I’d chopped up into one inch cubes. From there, I added a can of pureed pumpkin. Why? Well, I figured that sweet potatoes and pumpkins are typically seasoned similarly, so they’d probably set each other off well in a soup. If nothing else, I wanted my curry to be nice and thick, and pumpkin is awesome at adding body to a dish.
I covered it all up and simmered it for about a half hour. After 30 minutes of cooking on low heat, all I had to do was add salt to taste. Once I’d added a bit of yogurt and basmati rice, I’d arrived at my destination. This is something that started as an experiment, but is something that will be made again, for sure. Full of both complex sweet yet savory flavor, fiber, and glycemic index good carbs, this is great stuff.