Sweet potato and chickpea curry

I like to make a vegetable curry as an accompaniment when I make a meat one, but this curry is substantial and tasty enough to stand up as a meal on its own with rice. This curry is in a southern Indian style, with coconut milk making the curry rich and thick, and lime juice adding zing. It’s great for vegetarians – it’s loaded with flavour, and will have the meat-eaters fighting among themselves (probably with forks) for a helping too.

I have been lazy in this recipe and haven’t made my own curry paste. A good shop-bought curry powder works very well here – as usual, I recommend Bolst’s Madras powder, which is really well-balanced and fragrant. To serve four, you’ll need:

3 sweet potatoes
2 onions
6 spring onions plus more to garnish
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 inch piece of ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 can chickpeas
1 can coconut milk
1 bird’s eye chilli (more if you want a hotter curry)
1 handful chopped coriander leaves
Juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons oil
Salt to taste

Dice the onions and slice the spring onions, and sauté them in the oil with the curry powder and the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, both chopped finely, with the diced and peeled sweet potato and the sliced chilli, and continue to sauté until the sweet potato starts to caramelise and brown a little at the edges.

Pour the coconut milk over the curry, cover and simmer for fifteen minutes, until the sweet potato is soft. Add the drained chickpeas to the pan with half the lime juice and a teaspoon of salt, and simmer for another five minutes. Taste for seasoning – you may want to add more lime. Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh coriander, and garnish with some sliced spring onion.

This curry tastes even better if you leave it in the fridge for a day before reheating and serving. If you do this, add some more fresh coriander when you serve it.

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