Growing up in India, I had tasted only one kind of sweet potato, the morning glory that is now believed to have originated in eastern India. During winters in New Delhi, roasted wram chunks of sweet potatoes with toasted spices and lemon juice are sold on the streets. There are thousands of varietes throughout the world, from the Creamsicle - you guessed it, the flesh is sweet and white - to the Okinawa from Japan which is a gorgeous magenta inside.
Fresh fenugreek is in season now, and though you will have to make the trip to a grocer on Hillcroft to procure it, trust me - its heady aroma is worth the effort. Especially to make this recipe. The fragrant, slightly bitter herb pairs beautifully with the sweet potato; both are power-packed with flavor and nutrients. The coriander seeds give the fenugreek masala a unique lemony flavor.
makes ~6 servings
3 medium-sized sweet potatoes (roughly 8oz each), cut in half lengthwise
1 Tbsp olive oil, or enough oil to rub on potatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4-5 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 cups chopped fresh fenugreek
1 hot green chili pepper (such as serrano), finely minced
1 tsp salt
Handful of pumpkin seeds, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and rub them with oil, salt and pepper. Lay them cut side up on a baking sheet and place them in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the top appears golden and slightly puffy and the inside is cooked through. If the surface appears dry, brush more oil on top. Once the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, make the fenugreek masala. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. When the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add the minced garlic and coriander seeds. The garlic will turn white and the seeds will pop and sizzle. Within a few seconds, add the fenugreek leaves, chili pepper and salt. Cook just until the fenugreek is wilted, then turn the heat off and set the masala aside.
Once the potatoes have cooked slightly, slice each in halt lengthwise and stuff the fenugreek masala inside. Divide the masala among the six halves. Just before serving, place the potatoes back in the oven for another 3-4 minutes. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve warm.
ideas / variations
Fresh fenugreek is usually sold as a bunch. Discard the bottom 3-4 inches of stems and chop the remaining stems and leaves.
If you do not have fresh fenugree, use 1/2 cup dry fenugreek leaves (also called ‘kasoori methi’) with one bunch of chopped watercress leaves for the masala instead.
Add goat cheese or thick yogurt as a topping for added flavor.
Recipe can be done with baking Idaho potatoes instead of sweet.
When cooking coriander seeds, be careful not to burn them or they will taste bitter.