Guess what? It’s time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal! (Note: We would have also accepted “chicken butt” as an answer.)
My assigned blog for November is The Inquiring Chef, which I’m actually rather familiar with, considering it’s been on my blog reader for the past few months. The blog is written by Jess, an American expat living in Thailand, and is full of beautiful photos and stories about her life overseas. I adore her posts – they honestly make me want to dash onto the next flight to Bangkok, just so I can experience (and eat) all the wonderfulness of Thailand firsthand.
Not surprisingly, along with all of her stories about life in Thailand, Jess also shares a lot of Thai recipes on her blog, many of which I already had bookmarked for a rainy day.
Actually, make that a metaphorical rainy day, as opposed to a literal one. Even though I had every intention making one of her delicious curries, my plans were foiled by a rain-soaked weekend that preceded the arrival of Hurricane Sandy (which, thankfully, didn’t hit Toronto nearly as hard as it did in New York or New Jersey).
It was the kind of day that should be spent indoors wearing comfy pajama pants, watching silly movies on the TV, counting raindrops on windowpanes and sipping on big mugs of hot tea, not planning an expedition to the Asian supermarket to stock up on some of the more exotic ingredients necessary for authentic Thai cookery.
Thankfully, I happened to have almost everything on hand to make her recipe for chickpea and sweet potato curry, mostly because I like to keep a well-stocked pantry just in case I find myself in a pinch.
(Seriously, I’m downright obsessive about keeping a full pantry – I get twitchy when I’ve got less than three kinds of pasta on hand. I’m basically one large bag of flour away from having my own TLC series.)
In a rather serendipitous way, this curry turned out to be the perfect antidote to a cold, grey and miserable rainy day, particularly when ladled onto a fluffy pile of brown basmati rice and consumed on a cozy spot on the couch with a non-stop stream of True Blood on the TV to keep us company.
I didn’t make too many changes to the original recipe, except to add the spices to the browned onions and potatoes instead of toasting them dry (since my spices are fairly fresh, and I find dry toasting is more effective on whole spices than ground). I used a whole can of chickpeas and increased the quantity of tomatoes to use a full 19oz can (since 15oz aren’t sold here), and also added a hefty pinch of cayenne pepper at the end since we prefer our curries on the spicy side.
I’m not going to pretend it’s on par with the curries we can get at our favourite Indian place, most likely because it doesn’t contain a staggering amount of ghee, but it is an absolutely delicious and belly-warming option if you’re in the mood for a quick vegetarian meal. And given the lack of ghee, it’s also a much healthier meal. :)
It’s like they say… when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. And when it hands you crappy fall weather, make a big pot of this curry and throw some True Blood on the TV (and make yourself a promise that sometime soon, you’ll go out and buy the ingredients to make that delicious-looking Thai eggplant dish you bookmarked.)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp Indian curry paste (or curry powder)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 can (540 ml / 19 oz) canned chickpeas
- 1 can (540 ml / 19 oz) whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
- Salt, to taste
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 cup plain yogurt, for garnish
- In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, saute onion and sweet potato in vegetable oil until potato becomes tender, 8-10 minutes, reducing heat if onions begin to brown. Add garam masala, paprika and curry paste, and continue cooking for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add garlic, ginger and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Add broth, coconut milk, chickpeas and tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until sauce is thickened and potatoes are very tender. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and/or cayenne pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately with warm naan bread or ladle onto on a bed of cooked rice. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of cilantro, if desired.