nigella sweet potato and chickpea curry (long)
i tried out the recipe from yesterday's NY Times, since i happened to have most of the ingredients in the house.
it looks a bit more daunting than it really is, because the ingredient list is long and it includes tamarind paste, which may be hard to come by. but the list is mostly spices, and if you've ever cooked indian food before, you probably have most of them sitting around already!
i pretty much halved the amounts of onion, ginger, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and coconut milk, since i was cooking for two. i also added two shallots, since my onion was small. as for the spices, i just eyeballed them, probably using a bit less than the recipe called for, but not as little as half. same with the broth. by the way, if you can't find tamarind, you can try lemon or lime juice in a pinch.
the curry turned out beautifully. the flavors were vibrant and rich and fresh. so much better than using a pre-mixed spice packet or paste. and not at all difficult to make. it also looked gorgeous, with the colors of the sauce and the sweet potato and cilantro. i wish i had a digital camera so i could show you. with my adjustments, and with basmati rice, there was plenty for the two of us, with two portions left over for lunch today.
a couple of cautions: first, it needed longer cooking than the recipe called for. actually, i find this to be a regular feature of nigella's recipes, but one that i overlook since i generally think they're great. to give an idea of time involved, i got home from work at 6:45, we were eating by 8:00.
i also added the chickpeas much earlier (they were canned), since in my experience they take a while to get to the proper consistency.
second, i think this dish would ideally be left to sit for a day to taste its best. of course, you can't cook sweet potatoes and chick peas for 4 hours without ending up with mush, but like any stew, it needs time for the flavors to mingle and deepen. i'm having it for lunch today, so we'll see if it's much better. i'll bet it is.
a final note...i think you could do a lot of substitution here. the base curry sauce would, i think, go really well with plenty of other vegetables, like cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, green beans, plain potatoes...
i will definitely be making this again. if anyone else out there tried or tries it, please post!
I didn't make it because what I wanted to pair it with had coconut milk as a base too, and that would just be toooo much together. But I'm glad to hear it's as good as it sounded.
Nigella does easy Indian food really well I think.
for whoever asked about last year's sweet potato dal recipe, google
"red lentils" "sweet potato" dal Nigella
someone posted the recipe on a vegan website last year
I've made a similar one, and you're right, it def'y gets better after a day. And on that second day, it's a good idea to try it out as a filling for a Trini-roti. (Now I can't make that to save my life, but I've used some good hand-made roti or tortillas from a local restaurant/tienda and stuffed them with the curry, glued it together with a little flour/water paste and griddled).