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Vegan Sweet Potato Coconut Curry

Vegan Sweet Potato Coconut Curry, serves 4-6 ppl

This is the Ojai food co-op newsletter, so if you can, get everything organic!
-2 to 3 large sweet potatoes, or 3 medium size sweet potatoes, cubed
-1 medium size red onion, cubed or sliced, whatever you prefer, doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t have to be red onions either
-6-7 garlic cloves, chopped into tiny little cubes and smashed, or just smash with a mortal and pestle
-2 cans (13.5 oz each) of coconut milk, FULL FAT (1 can if you want less gravy, more if you want it more gravy-licious!)
-3-8 TBSP of cumin powder**if you can toast the cumin seeds and then grind, mo’ better! but do this before you start cooking anything!
-1-3 TBSP of green/red curry paste (I can not find this organic in any store in our area),
-half a bunch of fresh cilantro, cleaned, dried and chopped
-extra virgin cold-pressed coconut oil for sautéing, or what ever oil you like to use
-1 whole avocado–slice and garnish each individual serving
This is great over rice or noodles, or as a soup.
**Note: I like a lot of garlic, I just usually eye-ball it, and if I don’t think I smashed enough garlic, I will taste while cooking, and add after it’s been simmering in the coconut milk.
Being Nepali, curry should taste like curry, so I use a lot, if the amounts I suggested seem to much, use less.
Also, if you prefer ginger, use it! Just make sure it’s fresh and you smash it to get the flavor.
***Cumin seeds: my mother taught me to use fresh cumin powder, which means buying it whole (you can get it organic)and toasting it and then grinding into a powder.  I usually heat the fry pan to medium high heat, and I am eyeballing the amount of whole cumin seeds I pour into the pan, maybe a cup, or 2 cups of whole cumin seeds.  Toss in the pan until you smell cumin, don’t let it get too smokey.   It should take, 5 minutes, maybe less, again,  I don’t time it and I am watching what I am doing and using my nose and making sure I don’t burn it.  If you do burn the cumin seeds, throw away and start over.  Once toasted, let it cool, just transfer it to a plate or bowl, and then use a coffee grinder that is only for spices, and grind the toasted seeds to a powder.  I store it in a jar and use within 6 months.  Trust me, there is a nice taste when you toast all your whole seeds that are used in curry powder.
***Salt, I don’t use a lot of salt, and usually just let others add their own salt
Cooking it all together:
Make your rice or noodles according to instructions.
You can make this in one pot with a large base or large sauce pan.
Heat your pot or pan on high, once hot (check by adding water to pot or pan and if it sizzles it’s hot), I usually turn it down to medium high or medium when I add the oil.  Immediately add your cubed/sliced red onions, add evenly sprinkle 1/2 tsp of salt, and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to cook evenly, sometimes I cover the onions and lower the heat to medium.  Don’t let it burn!
At this point, you will probably need more coconut oil, heat should be medium high or medium, and then add your cumin powder, half the garlic that you smashed, and cook for a minute, stirring into onions (your mouth should be watering), then add the sweet potatoes. Make sure garlic doesn’t get too brown and crunchy.  Stir the sweet potatoes to make sure the garlic and cumin powder get distributed, add more coconut oil so that the cumin powder doesn’t stick to the pan (if it happens add a 1/8 cup of water to deglaze the pan/pot).  Saute everything over medium to medium-low heat and cover for  another 10 minutes, stirring to make sure nothing sticks to bottom of pot/pan.
You want your sweet potatoes to be partially soft.  Take a fork and test a few pieces of the sweet potato cubes, should be semi-soft.  I saute the sweet potatoes with the spices to infuse the sweet potatoes. Pour your coconut milk in and add the rest of the garlic, stir to get that coconut milk curried!
Add the green Thai curry paste, I take the paste and with my wooden spoon smash it along the sides until I can stir it in.  You can always add more of this paste for added flavor.
Simmer for about 30 minutes.  During this 30 minutes, check for taste, if you don’t think there isn’t enough curry flavor, add more cumin powder and/or the Thai curry paste.
Add salt and black pepper to taste or red pepper flakes or fresh chili pepper (chopped).  After 30 minutes, sample sweet potatoes, should be very soft, if not, cover and simmer longer.
Once the sweet potatoes are fully cooked–nice and soft, remove from heat, and add the chopped cilantro on top.
Serve over your rice or noodles.  Or serve as soup.  Garnish with sliced avos. Don’t drool while serving.