Bi-Curryous Sweet Potato Saag

Why limit your palate when you can have both?

In culinary fusion there is no East and West, no North and South. So saith the Saint, and by that I mean Tony Bourdain. (I loved that man, even if he didn’t love vegans.) No, he didn’t really say that. I’m just plagiarizing a verse from holy writ that would appear to uphold nonbinary living as a feature of heaven. Don’t tell the prudes and phobes! But you get the idea. You don’t have to stick to one thing to the total exclusion of another.

So this fall-appropriate, warming dish utilizes both the British colonial appropriation known as curry powder and the more authentically Indian garam masala (warm spice blend) to currify those ultimate seasonal comfort tubers known as sweet potatoes. Here in the U.S., what get sold as garnet yams are really just red sweet potatoes, so I’m not referring to them as yams, but you may have to look for them under that name. Using red sweet potatoes and red lentils together with the turmeric-colored curry powder and the dark greens makes this dish really pop as an autumn-toned feast for the eye. The lentils also add some texture and “meatiness” to the sauce. What you get is a sweet-creamy-spicy comfort curry perfect to curl up with on a chilly fall night. I’ve used both spinach and chard in this, and they’re both delish. You can vary the greens according to availability, or whatever your preference happens to be in the heat of the moment.

Should feed at least 4 comfortably, and freezes well as leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 in. ginger root, minced or grated (roughly 1 T)
  • 1 T curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp kala namak (Indian black salt) – can also use 1/2 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
  • 1 ripe medium tomato, diced (optional, but adds to the flavor profile)
  • 2 medium red sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered and chopped in 1/4″ slices
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • Packet stevia (or equivalent of 2 tsp sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 lb spinach (about 2 bunches) or 1 large bunch chard, cleaned, stemmed, and chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or pot with a tablespoon or two of water over low-medium heat and add the onions when it starts to sizzle. Saute the onions until soft and translucent, then add the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno and cook for a couple of minutes, adding water as needed to keep them from burning. Add the salt, curry powder and garam masala and saute, stirring, for another minute or two. Stir in the tomato and let it cook until it starts to soften.

Whisk the stevia into the coconut milk to dissolve it and pour the milk into the pot along with the broth, lentils, and lime juice. Heat the curry to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, covering to let the lentils and potatoes cook about ten minutes. Toss in the greens and cook down 5-10 more minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and potatoes are tender and the greens are wilted. Serve over (brown) rice, or whatever floats your boat. I’m not going to tell you to have it one way.

I’m just stirring the pot here.

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