Monday, November 15, 2010

Sweet Potatoes Revisited

So, as you can probably tell, I am completely new to this blogging thing. I wrote my first post about a month and a half ago. I've been surprised to find that I have a few readers that are enjoying the blog as much as I am, and I'm excited to see where it goes. Thanks to everyone who has taken an interest and read along with me so far.

Highlights from the 2010 sweet potato harvest.

The above mentioned first post was all about harvesting sweet potatoes from our hoophouse. I wrote it on a whim while I was in bed for a few days with some back pain that has been bothering me on and off since my pregnancy, which is why it has such an engrossing opening. I think the posts have gotten a tiny bit better since then, hopefully they will continue to do so.

Things do tend to get better with time.

My daughter, playing with the giant two pound sweet potato.
It's been in storage two months now. This one's destined to become Thanksgiving pie.
We had our first snow this weekend, hence the snowman jammies.

The sweet potatoes certainly have. They were respectably tasty right after we harvested them in mid September. They had a lot of sweet potato flavor, especially in the skin, and wonderful fresh earthiness, but they were also a tad starchy. We weren't worried about the starchiness though. Starchiness is to be expected in an uncured sweet potato. We ate a lot of them and gave each of our members five pounds (it was a good harvest) with instructions to store them for a while so that their sweetness would develop. We also stored several pounds in our unheated porch. We just started pulling out some of the stored sweet potatoes and popping them in the oven about a week ago and, oh man, they are like little roasted honey pies.

I also included a recipe in that first post, for sweet potato curry. Um, it wasn't really a curry, but it had a simple to make masala and I didn't know what else to call it so I went with curry. Sweet potatoes with warm Indian inspired spices just sounds kind of froofy to my ear.

The recipe improved with time too, and repeated preparation. So I'm sharing it again, with improvements, just in time for Thanksgiving. In our house the sweet potato "curry" is served with brown rice as a main course. But if you take away the rice, add some turkey, cranberry relish, and cornbread stuffing I'm pretty sure you'll have a perfect Thanksgiving side. My, this is a versatile recipe.

Revamped Sweet Potato Curry

I've added some carrots, parsnips, and apples to the dish which has made it crunchier, earthier, and sweeter than the original version. I've also changed the peanut oil to coconut oil, which brings out the nutty flavors of the root vegetables. If you don't have coconut oil, don't let that stop you from making this. Peanut oil (the fat used in the original version) is delicious too.

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 small jalapeño, with or without seeds (to taste) minced
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • masala, recipe below
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (to total 1.5 pounds), sliced 1/4 inch thick, large rounds halved
  • 2 large carrots (to total 1/2 pound), sliced into rounds about 1/2 as thick as the sweet potatoes
  • 2-3 parsnips (to total 1/2 pound), prepared as the carrots
  • 1-2 apples (to total 1/2 pound), cored and chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
  1. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, jalapeño, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has broken apart and is becoming translucent.
  3. Stir in the masala. Continue to stir until it is very aromatic, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips and stir to coat with spices.
  5. Turn the heat down to low, cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, 20 - 30 minutes.
  6. Stir in the diced apple, cover and cook until the apples are heated through but still firm, about 5 minutes.
To make the masala: 
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cardamom seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all of the spices and the salt and grind them with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. The final product does not need to be super fine, just broken up into small enough pieces that it will be pleasant to eat. I like a little texture to my spice, but big pieces can be bitter if you bite into them in the final dish.


  1. It's been cold, raining and windy here and that looks really good.

  2. Thanks. It's been cold, rainy, and a little snowy here and the sweet potatoes have been helping to make us feel cozy.