*This recipe makes a lovely, simple, nutritious and flavourful vegetable ‘curry’. The nutty subtle sweetness of dwarf cocoyam (taro) balances the overtly bold ripe sweetness of the sweet potato.
Cocoyam (Taro) & Sweet Potato Curry
|1–2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
canola oil, for drizzling and frying
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves, torn
500g (1lb 2oz) cocoyams (taro), peeled and diced
1 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 cm (2-inch) piece fresh root ginger, grated (unpeeled if organic)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
|1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground calabash nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2–3 mild green chilies, such as unripe Anaheim peppers
200ml (7fl oz) coconut milk, or almond milk
250–300ml (9–10fl oz) good-quality vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Spread the diced sweet potatoes out on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil, season with sea salt and black pepper and scatter with the torn bay leaves. Roast for 15–20 minutes until soft and slightly crisp at the edges (if you want to add some extra zing here use 1/2 teaspoon suya spice seasoning to marinate!).
In a pan of lightly salted boiling water, par-boil the diced cocoyam (taro) for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a little more oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan, add the onion and sauté gently for a few minutes until it turns golden. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes. Sift in the cornstarch, then add the spices and chilies and stir well. De-glaze with a little stock.
Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously to avoid lumps forming. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for 5–10 minutes.
Add the drained par-boiled cocoyam and then gradually stir in the vegetable stock until you have the consistency you want. Simmer for a further 25–30 minutes or until the cocoyam (taro) is really tender (fork soft), stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
Finally, stir in the roasted sweet potato a few minutes before serving, and serve with plain boiled rice. Garnish with some red sliced chilies (mature Anaheim, sliced diagonally) and fresh cilantro.