Hot Madras Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry over Brown Rice
If you want global comfort food, loaded with all the spices but warm and creamy; yeah, then this recipe is for you! I've played around with a lot of curries because I liked the idea of them, but they can definitely be an acquired taste. Getting the spice and flavor balance (oh, and the texture) right for me was the challenge; especially in a vegan dish. Some versions were too coconut-y. Some versions were too peanut buttery. All were too mushy. But, this one is just right-y.
The trick for me to love a good curry was balancing mostly Thai versions of curry with an Indian curry twist. Some peanut butter with garlic and ginger with coconut, and then adding the acidity of the lime while brightening the dish with the cilantro and green onions at the end. Oh, and I added the kale because you need something in there for some texture (and I do love kale)! So, this definitely a fusion dish with the added benefit of several tries under my belt to ensure that the flavors work! I'm sure you see in many of my recipes that green onion & cilantro are a great "finisher" for me; visually and in the flavor profile. Plus, I love ginger combined with garlic & peanut butter in savory sauces with a kick of heat. This recipe is built on the trust of what I know and have experienced so far and with the added note of perseverance.
Sustainability Spotlight: Perseverance. Quite literally, it means "persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success." I learned this terminology in 5th grade right along with the classic line "Life's not fair" pushing us to understand that things are not always going to be in our favor, but that we can succeed despite the challenges.
I didn't know the term for the idea of perseverance till 5th grade, but I sure knew the concept. See, I was raised in a house where hard work and perseverance were not just required, but a part of our core values. Only through challenges can you become better; embrace those challenges, learn from mistakes and failures, and press forward towards achieving what you want - the success is yours for the taking, but you have to get there physically and mentally.
Despite my limited viewership on this blog, I persevere and create new content. Why? Because it's important, and nothing happens overnight. The more you read, the more you hear, and the more you learn about sustainability (and how a vegan diet supports that sustainability), when then leads to how much more influence I can project for the world to do better, be better. Is it hard? Oh, yeah. Is it fun? You better believe it! Do I feel rewarded? Absolutely. I don't need thousands of followers, and I don't need millions of likes. All I need is to be the spark for some of you (and of you!) and then you can do the rest...
You can face the nay-sayers and persevere in your actions, thoughts and beliefs! I was incredibly blessed to have loved ones who support me and believe in me on this vegan journey and my sustainability beliefs. There are still plenty that disagree with my lifestyle and plenty that say "what's the point?" You are just one person. Yes, I'm one person with plenty of experience in home cooking failures over the years, plenty of times where I self-taught from learned people for how to create and layer flavors to overcome those cooking failures, and 100% a person with plenty of resolve. Enough to last a life time. If it's important to me, you better believe I'm never giving up.
I have perseverance for the world - I will never give up on trying to make it a better, more sustainable future for the next generations. Just like I didn't give up on this recipe (and so many other recipes); if the resolve is there, the challenge can be overcome. All you have to do is keep learning, creating, and believing in yourself in your efforts. Cheers to perseverance and all the opportunity it can create for you, for me, and for us together!
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 sweet potato (unpeeled & cut into cubes)
1/2 Spanish onion (chopped)
5-6 garlic cloves (diced)
(1) 1 x 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled & grated)
1/2 tbsp Hot Madras curry powder
1/2 tbsp salt (divided)
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
(1) 4 oz can tomato paste
2 cups vegetable stock (or broth - whatever you have open)
2 serving spoon scoops of smooth peanut butter
1 can coconut milk (shaken well)
1 can chickpeas (rinsed & drained)
1 lime (juiced)
4-5 leaves of kale (de-ribbed and chopped into bite-size pieces)
1 large handful cilantro (chopped)
2-3 green onions (chopped)
1 bag of brown rice (cooked) - you can rinse & recycle the bag in most home recycling programs
Optional Garnish(es): more chopped cilantro and green onion.
In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and swirl to coat. Once it shimmers, add sweet potato, onion and half of the salt. Saute for ~8-10 minutes or until onion is browned and potatoes are starting to soften.
Next, add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and paprika; stir to warm spices and coat the potatoes.
Now, deglaze the pan with the broth (I like to scrape up the bottom "browned" bits with an angled bamboo spatula).
Add tomato paste and incorporate; cover the skillet, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for ~8 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork (stirring occasionally). Toss in kale on top, cover again and wilt greens for ~2 minutes.
Remove lid, stir kale into the curry with the addition of the chickpeas, lime, peanut butter, and coconut milk. Cook uncovered for ~5 minutes and bubbly; stir fairly frequently so that it does not burn on the bottom.
Remove skillet from heat and stir in cilantro and green onion.
Serve curry over brown rice and garnished with a little more cilantro & green onion (if desired).
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie