Sweet potato season is upon us here in Cairo! While Halloween is looming and hence also pumpkins, it’s always a great idea to take advantage of sweet potatoes while they’re on the market before the pumpkins take over. This is only because sweet potatoes are often overlooked and undermined, which is quite unfortunate, given their nutritious attributes.
DID you KNOW that sweet potatoes are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods? The sherbert-orange color is indicative of phenomenal amounts of betacarotene, as well as vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, mangoes, biotin, potassium and fiber. Well those are the nutrients but then there are also the benefits - antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and Improved blood sugar regulation properties are abundant. Did I tell you it also tastes great? Did I also tell you that a cup of baked sweet potatoes (approx. 200 grams) has around 180 calories in it? With a bit of extra this and that, you’ve got yourself a knockout meal packed with nutrients from here to kingdom come. How can you go wrong? Oh… well you can’t!
We’ve know it as a dessert all our lives here in Egypt, because of the sweetness of the tender orange flesh when cooked. However, in a savory dish, sweet potatoes work just as well. While i’ve usually chopped my sweet potatoes and added them to roasting veggie dishes in the oven, I found that (because they’re softer than the average potato when cooked) they work perfectly well in soups also - particularly if you want a thickness in texture. This recipe contains onions, garlic, spices, and lentils to take it just a little further in terms of nutrients and provide a little protein. The sweetness of the potato, combined with the wring of onion, garlic, ginger, a tad of curry powder and some coconut milk make it not only taste wonderful, but leave you feeling full and satisfied. Perfect if you’re trying to eat well and need a break from the usual staples.
As a side note, I’d just like to tell you that this recipe makes a rather large amount. It’s been on the menu for dinner for 3 days so far and no one has gotten tired of it yet. Enjoy!
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup red lentils
2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
6 cups water (or broth) - additional cup if needed.
3/4 cup coconut milk
salt & pepper to taste
Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger and curry with olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot together, over the stove on high.
Add sweet potato cubes, and combine with sautéed onions. Add water or broth cup by cup and stir, covering to allow the sweet potatoes to cook for about 15 minutes.
Gently crush the sweet potatoes using the back of a fork or crusher (you can opt for a hand blender, but the potatoes usually fall apart on their own).
Lower heat to medium and add lentils, stirring every few minutes so the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of your pot. (You’ll notice that the lentils absorb the water in the soup fairly quickly. If you feel this is the case, add a little more water or broth and keep stirring).
Cook on medium heat until the lentils are enlarged and tender, usually 10 to 15 minutes. Add coconut milk, reduce heat to low, and leave it all to simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve and enjoy! This recipe keeps for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge, or can be frozen for later.