I have recently begun to get recipes from my Mom. You might wonder why I never thought of it earlier. Laziness, probably. Mom’s style of cooking is simple, effortless, organic and free-flowing. By organic, I don’t mean that she uses organic ingredients. She simply goes along as per her whim, throwing together a seemingly random assortment of vegetables, spices, seasonings and garnishes. The end result is always yummy, no exception. I think her secret lies in taking neither herself nor her cooking too seriously. Seems like a solid recipe for a happy life, don’t you think?
Below is her recipe of Sweet Potato Coconut Mash. I can take credit for the fact that this simple yet delicious recipe originated in my sunny kitchen this summer. A delightful sweet-tangy-spicy combination… Who’d think that the humble sweet potato could taste so divine? I’d like to believe that Mummy had the bright idea first!
Here are the ingredients you need.
The plastic container (top) contains white urad dal. It can be purchased from your neighborhood Indian grocery store. Buy the smallest packet you find. Use what you need and store the remaining in your refrigerator. I use urad dal frequently while cooking Indian dishes, so I keep it in my pantry. Other ingredients in the top picture are sweet potatoes, green chillies, curry leaves and mustard seeds. I keep a packet of frozen coconut in my freezer all the time. I like the brand Daily Delight but you can use whichever one you prefer. Or if you have fresh grated coconut at hand, use it. Infinitely preferable to using the frozen kind, I think. Lastly, you need the juice of one lemon (I prefer lime), chopped cilantro, turmeric and salt to taste.
Here is Mummy’s recipe.
1. Chop sweet potatoes into small cubes.
2. Warm 2-3 teaspoons of coconut oil. At Dekalb Farmers Market, I found a 32-ounce container of organic, extra-virgin coconut oil for $9.99. It is fragrant, rich and delicious! That’s the one I have been using these days. When the oil is warm, add a teaspoon of mustard seeds. As the seeds start to pop, add a teaspoon of urad dal, a handful of curry leaves, one chopped green chili (chilli?).
3. Roast the mixture for a few seconds.
4. Add chopped sweet potatoes, a teaspoon of turmeric, salt to taste. Stir well.
5. Cover, let it cook.
6. Stir periodically to ensure that the potatoes don’t stick to the bottom of the vessel.
7. When the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, turn off the heat. Garnish with fresh/frozen grated coconut, chopped cilantro leaves, lime juice.
Enjoy with steaming brown rice, a generous dollop of ghee, your choice of accompanying dal or sambar or rasam, lime/mango pickle! Or serve as a side dish to your main course.