We love food from all around the world and we're always excited to try new things, as long as it's not still creeping and/or crawling. I love making curry, and hubby likes it too, although it's not his favorite. He doesn't squee for curry but he does squee for masala. Served over steaming rice beside hot tandoori garlic naan and he is in heaven, or rather a reincarnated state of mind.
I'm not sure how authentic our version is, I do know one main difference. This version is made with delicata squash and sweet potatoes, a seasonal and healthier change to the heavy marinated meats that usually fill this dish. With it's healthier changes, it is still as comforting as ever, a delicious meal on a blustery day.
I especially love this meal because it's a one pot kind of meal. If you wanted to you could even boil the potato instead of roasting it, then adding all the ingredients accordingly. This may even be a successful slow cooker recipe, sauteing the onions and garlic, combining everything but the yogurt and coconut milk, letting it heat through for a few hours, then adding the dairies just before serving. No doubt your house would smell incredible.
sweet potato masala
1 - 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium delicata squash, cubed with peel on
olive oil or ghee
1 medium sweet onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cinnamon stick
3 small bay leaves
3 star anise
a hearty pinch of cardamom seeds
a few whole peppercorns
a couple whole allspice
a hearty pinch of whole coriander
2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and cut in half
1 - 2 teaspoons cumin
2 - 3 teaspoons turmeric
1 - 2 Tablespoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or one small serrano chile, sliced vertically through the middle and seeded
5 or 6 fresh medium tomatoes, diced or a 14 ounce can of tomatoes
3 - 6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup stock or water
1 - 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 lemon or lime
dried fruit; cherries, golden raisins, currants, etc.
cilantro, mint or tarragon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Drizzle sweet potato (or winter squash) cubes with oil or ghee and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes or until soft, tossing once in between.
Assemble the spice packet by combining all the spices and tying in a bit of cheesecloth with the cinnamon and bay leaves loose, or put inside a spice ball, again with the cinnamon and bay leaves loose. The spice packet is optional to do, since the garam masala already has most of the spices that the spice packet calls for. It just adds a bit more oomph. If you decide to omit the spice packet, still add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves and star anise to the sauce, removing them before serving.
Heat a glug or two of olive oil or ghee (clarified butter) in a large pot. Saute the onion and garlic together until fragrant. Add the spice packet, ginger, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne/chile pepper, tomatoes, paste, stock and salt. Simmer over medium heat until it comes to a low boil. Add yogurt and coconut milk, mixing until combined. Then add the roasted potatoes or winter squash, heating through. Add tomato paste to thicken the sauce, coconut milk to thin. Season with salt and cayenne to desired heat.
Remove ginger, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and any other spices you don't want people chewing on. People don't usually like biting down on ginorme hunks of ginger or star anise. Juice the lemon half over top and gently mix just before serving. I have read recipes where they also add a little ghee or butter at this point but it is optional.
Serve over hot steamed basmati, white, brown or wild rice with a sprinkle of dried fruit and fresh cilantro, mint or tarragon as a garnish.
because I give a range of measurements (i.e. 1 - 2 Tablespoons) start with the smaller measurement and add more to taste.
feel free to use only sweet potatoes, or all delicata squash, pumpkin, or any other winter squash.
tarragon has a definitive licorice taste, as does the star anise. Although the star anise is less pronounced in the sauce, I would suggest omitting both if you have aversions.