Indian Sweet Potato Hash

This is my attempt to recreate The Most Fabulous S’s amazing Sri Lankan sweet potatoes, which are the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever tasted (and your girl has tasted more than her fair share in her years on this earth).  Sadly, I couldn’t get her recipe and couldn’t call her up to ask on the spot, given the twelve hour time difference between us (she’s now living in Macau), so I tried my best and threw some spinach in–if they weren’t going to be just like hers, I may as well make them different enough so that I don’t feel like I’m falling short…

But trust me–these are GOOD!  As usual, approximate quantities are given because I don’t measure, but just taste as you go, adding as you see tasty.

To make them, you’ll need:

  • Sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs, or as much as you think you want to eat)–peeled and cubed (about 1/2 inch dice or whatever size you like)
  • Spinach (handful–I just used the leftovers from a huge bunch, so it’s totally up to you)
  • Onion–2 medium (probably about a cup’s worth), chopped
  • Garlic–4 or 5 fat cloves (I may have used more, but I’m a garlic fiend), minced or crushed
  • Small hot pepper (or to taste)–minced
  • Oil (canola or other neutral oil)–2-3 tsp.
  • Methi (fenugreek seeds)–about 2 tsps (go lightly and add more if you like the taste)
  • Cumin–1 tbsp (to taste)
  • Coriander–1 tbsp (to taste)
  • Garam masala–1 tbsp (to taste)
  • Salt, black pepper (to taste)

Now for the cooking:

  • In a large saucepan on medium-high heat, bring the sweet potatoes to a boil in enough water to cover by an inch or two, then simmer until tender but not mushy (I think mine take about 10-15 minutes).
  • When the sweet potatoes are almost done, get a big frying pan (large enough to hold the sweet potatoes and other veggies) and, over medium heat, heat the oil.  When the pan is hot, add the onion and saute until soft, then add the garlic and pepper and, after a few quick stirs, the fenugreek, cumin, and coriander.   Saute for a minute or two until the potatoes are done (or take off the heat if the potatoes aren’t ready yet).
  • When the potatoes are done, drain them and add them to the frying pan, tossing to get them coated in the mix.  Add the garam masala and toss a bit more.  Then add the spinach, toss again, turn heat down a bit,  cover, and let the spinach wilt, adding a bit of water to loosen everything up and prevent it from sticking to the pan.  After 2-3 minutes, check for wilting and seasonings and serve.
  • I usually serve this with chopped tomato and onion on top, with a sprinkle of lime juice.  It’s good with rice, but doesn’t need it, and tastes fantastic with a fried egg on the side (especially if reheated late at night after an evening of carousing…)

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