Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Sticky Rice


It's been raining a lot here lately and the rain made me want sweet potatoes.

I started burrowing through my cookbooks but came up empty handed. And then I looked in Culinary Artistry and I saw it.

Coconut. Sweet potatoes go with coconut.

I'd make a thai curry.

This is a bit of a made up recipe. I used a curry paste from my favorite thai cookbook (The Original Thai Cookbook) and added sweet potatoes, red peppers and onions. If you're not trying to get some use out of your mortar and pestle, you could also use jarred paste. There are some good ones out there.

Came out pretty yummy, in the end. I made sticky rice too. Sticky rice is the BOMB.

Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

2-3 sweet potatoes, diced
2 medium onions, sliced thinly
2 red peppers, sliced thinly
1/2 cup minced cilantro
1 1/2 cups coconut milk

curry paste:
1 stalk lemon grass, minced
1 tsp turmeric
3 cloves garlic, minced
7 dried red chilies blended in a coffee grinder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 shallots finely chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

The original recipe also calls for 1 tsp shrimp paste and 1tsp laos (galangal) but I didn't have these so I added a little premade curry paste. You could also add a bit of fish sauce instead of the shrimp paste (or even just salt). Galangal is like mild ginger, so you might be able to replace it with a smaller amount of ginger.

Anyway. Combine all the above in a mortar and pestle and cream it till smooth. If you are more equipped than me and have a food processor you can do that too. Takes the fun out if it though.

To make the curry:

First heat a bit of oil (vegetable or peanut) in a pan and add the onions, cook on high until they start to brown then turn down low until they are nice and caramelized. Take out of the pan. Now put in coconut milk and then add spice paste to mix. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add sweet potatoes and cook until almost soft covered on low-med heat (20-30 minutes). Then add caramelized onions and red pepper. Cook another few minutes, then add cilantro. Taste for spiciness and salt. Serve.

Sticky Rice

The easiest way to make this is to have this special getup:

You don't absolutely need it, but it costs like 20$ on line and is so much easier so why the hell not. You can get it (and the rice) here.

Soak 2 cups sticky rice overnight. I know I know. You can soak it in warm water for 2 hours and it comes out OK but it really is not as good. You'll taste the difference.

Anyway. Take the soaked rice and wrap it in the cheesecloth, then put it in the top of the steamer basket over boiling water and cook for 25 minutes. If you don't have one of the special steamer set ups, you can use a regular dishcloth (hopefully clean) and put it in a steamer or colander. You might have to turn it halfway through if you do it this way.

Cover it till serving or else it gets dry.

And now everyone will think you are cool because you can make sticky rice. Really.

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