Can’t tell a sweet potato from a yam? I can’t either, you have company! Every year around Thanksgiving someone will brief me about how to and why, which I dutifully forget by the time spring arrives. One of the life lessons about vegetable curries that I have learned after moving here is that you are never actually limited by the options around you. You can make anything out of anything, that’s it, thank you!!!
Here is a curry that we often make with sweet potatoes/yams assuming that these are pumpkins (where we live, pumpkins are not hard to find, I must add). This is made based on a simple “Mallu” logic that a curry concocted with ground coconut mixed in and topped with more toasted coconut cannot go wrong. Adding caramelized onions at the end makes it very special and sets it apart from the formidable Erissery.
Sweet potatoes cut into chunks – 4 cups
Cooked green peas – 2 cups
Onions chopped – ½ cup
Grated coconut – 3/4 cup + 1/2 cup
Green chilies – 2 nos (to your taste)
Cumin – ¼ tsp.
Curry leaves – ¼ cup
Turmeric – ¼ tsp.
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp.
Salt – to taste
Add sweet potatoes to a stew pot, sprinkle with half the amount of turmeric and ¼ tsp. salt. Add 1 ½ cups of water, mix well and cook till the pieces are tender. Then add the cooked green peas, adjust salt if needed, turn the heat to low. Grind 3/4 cup of coconut, green chilies, half of cumin and the remaining turmeric to a coarse paste. Add it to the cooked potatoes, and cook for 2 more minutes at low heat. Turn off the heat. Heat 1 tbsp. of Oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When the seeds stop spluttering, add chopped onion and sauté till golden brown. Now add the remaining 1/2 cup of grated coconut, curry leaves, cumin and toast till the coconut turns golden brown. Turn off the heat and add the seasoning to the curry. Mix well and serve with rice or enjoy it as such.