One of the biggest changes I have been making in our house since I left Ballymaloe is buying a lot less meat but ensuring the meat that we do eat is of the highest quality, organic, grass-fed, the best we can find.
This means a lot more vegetarian food as well as meals that use up leftover chicken and meat. As my husband is a classic Irish male, he usually believes a meal is not complete without meat and therein lies my biggest challenge – how do I make vegetarian meals that he will enjoy. Curries are on the easier side of this challenge, as he loves them anayway!
One evening in our cottage in Ballymaloe, Tim Allen dropped around a pot of delicious sweet potato curry that I couldn’t stop thinking about for days after! I never did manage to get the recipe so I had a go at recreating it myself. This curry is laden with vegetables but the sweet potato gives it lots of texture and the chickpeas add protein. It may not be exactly the same but it is really delicious and is easily scaled up for a crowd.
Sweet Potato, Chickpea Coconut Curry:
Serves 4 hungry people or 6 normal people
- 1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely grated
- 1 chilli, sliced – I left in the seeds but this is up to personal preference
- 1 tsp ground cumin – Sidebar: These spices will be remarkably better if toasted whole and then ground fresh!
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1x 400ml can coconut milk
- 1x 400ml tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into bitesize chunks
- 1/2 medium cauliflower
- A handful of green beans, trimmed and halved
- Handful of kale, chopped
- Handful of chopped coriander for sprinkling on top
- Fry the onion in the oil until softened but not coloured. After a few minutes, add the ginger and garlic and chilli and cook through. Season at this point with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the spices and fry with the onion, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes.
- Gradually stir in the coconut milk, the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Taste and adjust the seasoning at this point.
- Add the chickpeas, sweet potato and cauliflower and cook on a low heat until the vegetables have softened and the sauce has thickened.
- Add the green beans about five minutes before serving and cook through. Just before serving, toss in the kale but do not put a lid back on the pan as it will lose its vibrant green colour.
- Serve with your choice of rice, sprinkled with chopped coriander and a dollop of yoghurt.