Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sweet Potato with Oomph

Sweet potato or ‘bathala’ as it’s known in Sri Lanka, is traditionally eaten with freshly grated coconut. Since arriving in Melbourne, and with fresh coconut not freely available, I’ve opted for these two ways of cooking sweet potato – either a curry (hardly a surprise) or a soup. Now thanks to Kurma Dasa’s ‘Cooking with Kurma’, there’s a third way – a rather delectable salad called ‘Kumara Salad’ which incorporates coconut with several other complex flavours.

What you’ll need:
* 1kg of kumara/orange sweet potato, cubed
* 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons extra (I used 2 tablespoons only)
Hulled sesame seeds, toasted
* ½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder (or ½ teaspoon crushed garlic)
* ¾ teaspoon garam masala
* ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
* 1 tablespoon green chilli, finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ¼ cup shredded coconut (used the dried kind, dampened with a little hot water)
* 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, powdered (Had raw nuts with skins on, which I dry roasted whole and after powdering as well to be sure rawness was gone)
Raw peanuts with skins
* 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, unhulled, dry roasted and powdered (had hulled sesame seeds, which seemed to work just as well)
* 2 tablespoons coriander leaves, which I didn’t use.

What to do:  
Cook kumara (I used a microwave). Cover and keep them warm. I was supposed to heat 2 teaspoons of oil, then sprinkle the asafetida powder, stir briefly and set aside. Instead I used 2 tablespoons of oil to fry the garlic, then when waited for oil to cool a little, before adding (as advised) the garam masala, green chilli and red chilli powder. Stir then, add lemon juice, salt and the rest of the olive oil (if you haven’t used it already!). Add spicy oil to sweet potato, stir to coat well. Then add coconut and the powders (peanut and sesame). Stir to combine. After salad has cooled, garnish with coriander leaves if using.

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