Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry

This is one of my favourite dishes, but as my husband isn’t a fan of sweet potato, also known as Kumara in New Zealand, I don’t get to enjoy it as often as I would like to.

Chicken & Sweet Potato Casserole

One thing I’m not a fan of, is very hot curry, so this is dish should probably be described as more of the mildly spicy kind, not the blow-the-top-of-your-head-off kind of curry. It isn’t even made with traditional curry spices, just a blend I buy off the shelf. I must have copied this recipe into my book about 20 years ago and I honestly can’t remember where I got it from, but the original list of ingredients calls for hot curry powder, but use mild if you prefer, or a selection of your own if you know what you’re doing. I don’t, when it comes to mixing up great curry powders so I leave it to the professionals. I have a friend who will nurse a curry for hours, adding fresh spices and chillies at various times, but he is really into the very hot kind. If you prefer a milder version like me, then perhaps we should refer to this as a casserole instead of a curry.

Did you know you shouldn’t refrigerate your sweet potato? Apparently it alters the flavour during cooking. They are best kept in a well-ventilated, cool, dry environment. In New Zealand we have three main varieties: the most common is the red-skinned, which has a creamy white flesh and is sold as Red; gold kumara has a golden skin and flesh, and a sweeter taste than red; and the orange, which has a rich orange flesh and is sweeter than both red and gold. It is a root vegetable which, if history is to be believed, originated from central and south America around 5,000 years ago and was brought to New Zealand by early Maori settlers via the Pacific Islands about 1,000 years ago. The leaves are sometimes eaten as greens, but I haven’t tried that. I stick with the sweet bulbous root. Once washed, I enjoy baking them in the oven in their skins. Once cooked, the skin is a little shriveled, but the flesh is soft and packed with flavour, and the skin comes away easily.

ingredients:
about 1 Tbsp oil
30 ml hot curry powder (or whichever you’d prefer)
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 kg chicken, cubed (or pieces, but will take longer to cook)
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
200 g sweet potato, peeled and cubed
100 g carrots, peeled and sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped (or use a tin)
1 litre chicken stock (preferably heated)
100 g peas / green beans
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Heat the oil in an large saucepan and sauté the onion and curry powder for about a minute until the onion is translucent and the curry powder fragrant.
  2. Add the chicken and fry until browned. Add the garlic, sweet potato, carrots and tomato.
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add the peas/beans and season. Cook for a further 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  5. Serve with rice and a salad.

Enjoy!

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