Recipe of the Week: Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry


Photo by Andrew Scrivani for the New York Times

Although we have been reading about Nigella Lawson for years, we have never had the occasion to try any of her recipes. While perusing the New York Times we came across an article by Lawson including two interesting sounding dishes, a Mushroom Ragout and Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry. With all the required ingredients in the pantry we decided to give the Curry a try. It was as Lawson says in her article "gloriously easy to make" and is one of those recipes that can be made ahead and improves with age. This recipe yields 6-8 servings and there were only two for dinner that night so we cut the recipe by half, but kept the spice measurements as listed because we like our curry hot. If you make the recipe as written you will have what Lawson calls a "warming rather than a hot curry". We are going to try the Ragout this weekend and if it is as delicious as it sounds, we will give you that recipe next week.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry2 medium red onions, peeled
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 bird's eye pepper, Thai chili or other very hot small pepper with its seeds
1 2 ½ to 3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
3 tbsp canola oil
½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (we used 1 tsp ground cardamom and it was fine)
Salt to taste
2 pounds (about 3 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ to 1 inch cubes
1 ¾ cups coconut milk (we always use light)
1 tbsp tamarind paste
2 ¼ cups hot vegetable broth
4 to 5 cups (about 4 cans) cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves

1. In a food processor, combine onions, garlic hot pepper and ginger. Pulse until finely chopped. Place oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion mixture and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add hot pepper flakes, and spices. Stir to mix. Add sweet potatoes and stir until well covered in spices. Stir in coconut milk.
3. Dissolve tamarind paste in hot broth and add to pan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until sweet potatoes are just tender, about 25 minutes
4. Add chickpeas and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust salt to taste. Transfer to a warmed bowl and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Yield: 6-8 servings