Roasted Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry recipe

This a great detox dish if you’re fed up of heavy meals and roasts after Christmas. It’s naturally sweetened by the roasted sweet potatoes, and brightened with lemon or lime juice. My daughter happily scoops up this dinner with her tiny 4-year-old hands, relishing every bite. She even asked for it for lunch, declaring she hates sandwiches and needs lentils and rice. It is a perfect combination for young eaters – easy to eat independently once mummy mixes it together so the rice is coated.

I like the texture and sweetness that oven-baked sweet potato adds to this recipe, and the kids do as well. I’m usually the kind of cook that likes a one-pot meal, but the added baking dish is totally worth it for this. The bonus in the winter is the warmth to be gained from 45 minutes of a high temperature oven. Yes please! This recipe includes carrots, sweet peppers and peas in the rice, so it packs a veggie punch. No meat here, but you could add some tandoori chicken from my previous recipe if you feel like you need it. Lentils provide plenty of protein, though, so we don’t miss the meat. Serving it with a bit of Greek yogurt also adds protein, and creaminess!

I must admit that I don’t measure my spices – I add in dashes – so the measurements in the recipe are approximate. You can use a tandoori spice mix, garam masala or a curry powder that you like instead, but the below spices are those that I find work best with this recipe, so I dash them in. If you prefer, you can add about 1 tablespoon of your mix of choice instead of those below, but I encourage you to try your hand at a bit of dramatic flair and pinch, dash or sprinkle right into the pan.

This is best served with rice; I use jasmine rice because you don’t need to rinse it and it’s a straightforward 1 rice to 2 water ratio. For curry, I like to add frozen peas and a dash of Chinese Five Spice to cook with the rice for the aromatic favour it adds. Whether using a pot or rice cooker, I recommend layering the frozen peas first, then a tab of butter and sprinkle of five spice, then the rice and lastly the water. It saves the rice from burning to the bottom if, for a multitude of mom reasons, you can’t get to it right on time.

Even on its own, this lentil dish is delicious and can be spiced up with chili for braver tastebuds. My kids like it mild, so I don’t have chili here, but feel free to add it to taste.

Sweet potato and lentil curry vertical.jpeg

You’ll need:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil of choice, high heat tolerant (olive oil isn’t recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or veg oil
  • 1 medium chopped white onion (about ¾ cup if using frozen)
  • 1 cup/1 medium finely chopped or grated carrot (I use a cheese grater)
  • 1 cup/1 medium finely chopped bell pepper (yellow hides really well)
  • 1 cup rinsed red lentils (or yellow, but please rinse well)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 cup roughly chopped coriander/cilantro (fresh is best, but use less if using those little tubes…)
  • 3+ cups of warm water (additional water to top it up as needed to soften lentils)
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt (optional, but adds creaminess)
  • If serving with rice, I use 2 cups jasmine rice, 4 cups water, 1 cup frozen peas, a tab of butter and a dash of Chinese Five Spice.

The method:

Begin with preheating your oven to 400F/200C for the sweet potatoes.

Peel and chop the potato into roughly the same size pieces for even cooking and add to the tray.

Toss the potatoes in a bit of oil and cover with aluminium foil for the first half of the baking time (20-30 minutes).

In a large skillet, add the ghee or oil, onion and carrots, and lightly brown over a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.

Measure and rinse your lentils, ensuring the water runs clear through a sieve. Add the lentils and the peppers to the onions and carrots.

Add your dry spices and coriander to the mixture. You can use a premixed dry curry spice if you prefer.

Give it all a good stir to coat the lentils well with your spices, and allow them to lightly fry for about 2 minutes before adding the water to cover the lentils.

Reduce the heat to med/low, cover your skillet with a lid and allow the curry to soften. You want to be sure the lentils are covered, so you may need to top up the water occasionally. This should only take 20 minutes, but it depends on the lentils.

After 20-30 minutes in the oven, remove the aluminium foil from the sweet potatoes and finish uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until lightly-browned edges show off the natural caramelisation.

Roasting sweet potatoes.jpg

Once the lentils are just about the desired texture, the sweet potatoes should also be done, approximately 45 minutes all in. Remove the potatoes from the oven and add to the curry. The potato pieces will naturally break apart into the curry as you stir them into the mixture.

At this point, I’ve usually started my rice. There’s a lot going on with this dish, but it simmers away without needing attention, so there’s plenty of time to get the rice going in time for serving. The curry will happily bubble away, reducing to your favourite consistency.

The roasted sweet potato thickens the dish, so you can mix it thoroughly or leave larger bits – it’s up to you! If you like the added creaminess, you can also add the Greek yogurt to mellow the spices and sweetness. If adding yogurt, be sure the temperature is reduced and you just bring the curry back to a light bubble before serving.

We enjoy this with just a bit of rice and a nice big ladle full of lentils. My husband and I usually add a dash of chili flake or a spicy chutney, just for the heat. My daughter especially loves this curry, and doesn’t even need rice. I hope you give this a try and enjoy!
 

Sparkly Mummy

 

“Thanksgiving” Green Bean Casserole and Sweet Potato Mash

Having only recently returned to the States after a decade-long hiatus from Thanksgiving, I was mildly overwhelmed by the volume of activity involved in this traditional feast. After spending many years basically forgetting about Thursday’s main event, I hadn’t prepared for the flurry that would surround at least four days of stuffing ourselves, and a turkey. Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I also hosted a “Friendsgiving” on the Saturday following the blowout at my parent’s house on Thursday.

That being said, I had nary a moment to snap photos along the way between basting, roasting, caramelising and child herding, so I hope you’ll forgive the lack of step by step pictures this week. What I do have for you though, are three incredibly easy recipes that can be used for a Sunday roast or midweek feast. Trade chicken for the turkey and reduce the time by loads, and you’ll have a dinner to give thanks for – I promise.

Back in the day, a green bean casserole meant tinned beans, condensed cream of mushroom soup and fried crispy onions on top. These days, I prefer to start from scratch to ensure it’s gluten-free and free of wacky preservatives and stabilisers. Not only is it healthier; it’s a million times tastier. My family couldn’t say enough, or eat enough, of this classic side dish with homemade flavour. The sweet potato mash is just my preference to standard white mash, and it adds a lovely sweet balance to the savoury beans and turkey.

Some tips for turkey

For Friendsgiving, I slow roasted a medium-sized turkey coated in honey mustard until it was falling off the bone. At just 110C/225F for 8-10 hours, keep the bird covered with foil and with approximately 2 cups of chicken stock on the bottom of the roasting tin. I add one large onion to the cavity and sprinkle garlic salt to stick to the mustard coating. I started with the breast down and flipped it half way through (4 hours in), increased the heat to 180C/350F and uncovered for the last 15 minutes to crisp the skin. You can do the same with a large chicken, reducing the time to 3-4 hours, for succulent, juicy meat. Always be sure to check the meat is cooked through before serving; all ovens vary!

Green bean casserole & sweet potato mash.jpg

Green bean casserole and sweet mash

You’ll need:

• 2 medium white onions
• 1 tsp veg oil of choice
• 1 TB salted butter
• 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp fresh or dried garlic minced
• 2 cups chopped fresh mushroom of choice; I use white
• 2 cups double/heavy cream
• 6-8 cups topped and tailed fresh green beans
• 4 pieces of bacon chopped roughly (optional)
• 3 large sweet potatoes
• 2 TB salted butter
• ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, allspice, clove and nutmeg)
• ½ TB Greek yogurt or soured cream
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Splash of milk or cream to loosen for preferred texture (optional)

The method:

Begin with slicing the onion into long strips and adding them with the oil to a wide pot over a medium heat. The onions will sweat and begin to brown after a few minutes of little stirring. Once they begin to brown slightly, try to stir more often so they don’t fry instead of sweetening.

After ten to fifteen minutes, you should begin to see them all browning, shrivelling and producing a lovely sweet aroma. You won’t need to add any sugar – these release their own natural sweetness that’s impressive.

Once the onions have produced a nice glaze, add the mushrooms and coat them with it. Add in the balsamic vinegar and a tab of butter. Keep stirring until the mushrooms and onions are well blended.

Add the cream and dried garlic, stirring continuously to avoid scorching the cream. Using a non-stick pan is ideal for this, because sometimes the kids need you urgently and you don’t have time to ruin dinner.

Once the cream has incorporated into the onions and mushrooms and reduced slightly, add the chopped bacon and pour the sauce over a baking tray full of halved green beans.

Bake covered at 180C/350F in the top 1/3 of the oven for approximately 35 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Allow to rest for 5 minutes or more before serving.

For the sweet mash, bake the whole sweet potatoes at 180C/350F for 1 hour, or until they’re running juices. I usually line a tray with foil to avoid clean up of the leaky sugars.

Allow the soft potatoes to cool slightly before scooping into a large bowl and discarding the skins.  

Add the butter and smash the potatoes and butter until smooth.

Add the yogurt or soured cream and dry spice and mix thoroughly. Taste your mash to be sure it doesn’t need a splash of milk or cream to loosen the texture.

Serve these green beans and this mash as side dishes to any kind of roast and you won’t be disappointed. With the above method for turkey or chicken, it’s amazing. Once the bird is out of the oven, you can easily make gravy with the remaining stock, but the green beans have a lovely gravy of their own that’s delicious. My family and friends were filled to bursting with these moreish sides. Happy feasting!

Sparkly Mummy
Link up your recipe of the week