This curry features a zesty sauce in which paper-thin slices of sweet potatoes are simmered until meltingly tender, along with oven-roasted asparagus. Creator Bryant Terry says, "Because asparagus spears, like most vegetables, start losing nutrients and flavor immediately after they are harvested, buy them at your nearest farmers' market when they make their grand appearance this year. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on one bit of the vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, copper, vitamin A, iron, phosphorus, and zinc that those delicious tiny spears contain."
If you want to make your own garam masala, combine 1/4 teaspoon each of ground black pepper, garlic powder, ground ginger, and ground cardamom, with 1/2 teaspoon each of tumeric and ground cumin.
Coarse sea salt
2 bunches of asparagus, trimmed
2 teaspoons plus 3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 yellow onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 bay leaves
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. In a large pot over high heat, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, boil for 1 minute, then add the asparagus and immediately turn off the heat. Let sit for 1 minute, then drain.
3. Transfer the asparagus to a large plate and toss with the 2 teaspoons of coconut oil to coat lightly. Transfer the asparagus to a large baking sheet and roast until it starts to crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces, and set aside.
4. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the 3 tablespoons oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the onion and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and translucent. Then add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
5. Put the tomatoes and their juices in a large bowl. With clean hands, squeeze the tomatoes through your fingers to break them into smaller pieces. Transfer the tomatoes to the sauté pan with the onions. Add the coconut milk, then fill the coconut milk can 1/4 full with water and stir it well to incorporate any coconut milk that may have been left behind. Add this to the sauté pan and mix well. Add the sweet potatoes and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, until they are tender and the sauce has thickened up. Add the asparagus, cover, and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately. There will be plenty for seconds.
This recipe was created by Bryant Terry, who uses the sensual pleasures of the table to inspire people to contribute to building a healthier, just, and sustainable food system. Terry is the author of Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African American Cuisine and Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen. This recipe was originally published in Eco-Sex.
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