Love Baked Sweet Potatoes? Make this Curry Twist from Chef Nicole Gajadhar

Nicole Gajadhar has a life-long love affair with curry. The dish that sparked her obsession was the curry hen and duck that her household would eat no less than as soon as per week, constructed from birds raised of their yard in Trinidad.

“Curry is such an enormous factor in my tradition, which is Indo-Caribbean,” says Gajadhar, chef de delicacies at The Loyal in Manhattan. “In Trinidad, we’ve this factor known as inexperienced seasoning, which is like all these inexperienced herbs and greens blended collectively. I all the time watched my grandma, my aunt and my mother make the spice paste. That’s what they might season their proteins with.”

It wasn’t till Gajadhar moved to New York and started exploring town’s completely different neighborhoods that she developed a deep appreciation for the broader world of curry, from coconut-based Thai curries to spicy, candy and bitter Indian curries.

Now, she finds inspiration from all of those eating places to create new dishes, together with her vegan candy potato curry, which is a buyer favourite at The Loyal. The sauce—a mix of coconut milk, mirin, ginger, garlic and a do-it-yourself curry paste that mixes tamarind with quite a lot of Indian spices—is a homage to all of the curries she’s loved over time.

“With this curry, I needed to do one thing that was slightly completely different than what I do know,” she says. “I began enjoying round with completely different flavors and taking a look at completely different recipes for various locations, and got here up with this.”

Courtesy of Karlie Louise

She first created this curry whereas working at Nix (which, like The Loyal, is owned by Chef John Fraser), benefiting from the restaurant’s tandoor oven to cook dinner the candy potatoes—the “meat” of the dish—to caramelized perfection.

“Nobody believes that it’s vegan,” she says. “Normally, your mind routinely thinks of one thing creamy being made with heavy cream or dairy.”

For her, it’s bought simply sufficient of a throwback taste to her household’s Trinidadian curry that it instantly takes her again to her childhood.

Listed here are just a few suggestions from Gajadhar for making her vegan candy potato curry at house.

The curry sauce is, in fact, an important factor of this dish, however the candy potatoes are the true star, offering the majority of its texture. After seasoning, roasting and peeling the potatoes (be sure you reserve the pores and skin!), you’ll char them on a traditional or tandoor grill.

“The potatoes ought to calm down earlier than you throw them on the grill,” she says. “In the event that they’re chilly they keep good and agency they usually received’t overcook, as a result of they’ll begin cooking exterior earlier than they begin cooking extra inside.”

The grilling imparts a smoky, meaty, caramelized taste and texture. “You’re leaving the potatoes on excessive warmth, however slightly bit away from the warmth, so all of the sugars caramelize and it will get this good crust on it with out the pores and skin.”

Although Gajadhar says any number of candy potato will work on this dish, she prefers Japanese and Okinawan Purple potatoes. “Once you’re charring them, they’ve slightly bit extra sugar content material, so that you get a special char taste to it,” she says.

Gajadhar’s curry sauce could have to cook dinner for greater than three hours, however relaxation assured it’s pretty easy to make. The cooking time is essentially attributable to her do-it-yourself curry paste, an important ingredient within the sauce, that requires loads of time for the flavors of tamarind puree, galangal, cinnamon, bay leaves, turmeric and extra, to marry. Nonetheless, if you’re trying to reduce down on prep time, Gajadhar says there’s no disgrace in utilizing a pre-made Massaman-style curry paste as a substitute.

For the sauce, she blends the paste with100-percent unsweetened coconut milk (“be sure you don’t get sweetened coconut milk or coconut milk with a excessive water content material,” she warns), lemongrass, ginger, garlic, onions, pink chili and mirin. Regardless of utilizing coconut milk, although, she contends that it doesn’t style tremendous coconutty and the milk primarily imparts a stupendous creaminess to the sauce. This combination cooks on low warmth for about an hour.

“The substances come from completely different components of the world, like a few of these substances you’ll discover in my nation, Trinidad, after which different substances you’ll discover all the way in which internationally in India and Asia,” she says.

As a result of the curry sauce is a little bit of a time dedication, Gajadar recommends making a giant batch. The sauce will preserve within the fridge for just a few days, however the paste “could be refrigerated or frozen and it stays eternally.”

When you might actually serve the curry along with your ordinary jasmine rice, Gajadhar has provide you with just a few methods to make the facet dish complement the curry sauce.

“Usually, after I cook dinner rice, I all the time add slightly fats to it so it doesn’t stick an excessive amount of collectively,” she says. “As an alternative of utilizing olive oil or butter, I made a decision so as to add coconut oil, for the reason that sauce has coconut milk in it already. It provides a very nice aroma to it as a result of jasmine rice has such a stupendous, candy aroma. Like, you simply wish to eat it by itself.”

As soon as the candy potato is topped with a beneficiant serving to of curry sauce, it’s able to be completed with the thyme-seasoned potato skins, that are fried in oil till completely crispy (they’re principally “candy potato pores and skin chips,” she says), and a “garnishing salad” of sliced ginger, lily bulbs, chilies, cilantro and lime.

The lily bulbs, which are available in a vacuum-sealed bag, have a taste and texture much like water chestnuts. Like a lily bulb you’d plant within the floor, these separate into scales which can be barely crunchy, but additionally delicate like a flower petal.

One tip Gajadhar affords is to make this curry prematurely. “It’s really even higher the subsequent day,” she says. “With curries and sauces, all of the flavors form of improve much more as soon as they sit.”

Yields 2-4 servings


  • 4 medium Candy potatoes (Okinawan purple, garnet or Japanese)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Contemporary cracked black pepper
  • Thyme sprigs
  • 4 oz Curry paste (do-it-yourself* or prepackaged Massaman-style)
  • 2-14 oz cans Unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 stick Lemongrass, sliced thinly
  • .5 cup Ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 2 giant Onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 Pink chili, seeds eliminated
  • 4 oz Mirin
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 2-3 Lily bulbs cleaned and saved in chilly water
  • Contemporary ginger, thinly sliced
  • Pink chili (fresno, ideally), thinly sliced
  • Cilantro leaves
  • 1 Lime, juiced and zested
  • Salt



Warmth the oven to 350 levels Fahrenheit. Wash the candy potatoes and season them with salt, pepper, thyme and olive oil. Wrap them in aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (As soon as completed, it is best to be capable to pierce with the tip of a knife.) Potatoes needs to be smooth however nonetheless agency—not mushy. Cool the potatoes absolutely, peel and save the skins.

On a scorching grill, char the candy potatoes till they develop colour and smoky ember flavors. By charring the potatoes, it develops a meaty aroma and a crusty outer layer.

To organize the crispy potato pores and skin garnish, fry the skins in scorching oil till crispy, then cool on a paper towel and permit the oil to empty off.


Add the onions, lemongrass, ginger, chili and garlic to a saucepan over medium warmth. Cook dinner till the onions are translucent. Add the curry paste and cook dinner for a further 5 to eight minutes. It could stick, so preserve stirring. Add the mirin to deglaze the pan. Add the coconut milk and a couple of cups of water. Cook dinner on low warmth for 30 to 45 minutes. Pressure the sauce. It should last as long as 4 to five days within the fridge.


Cook dinner 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of salt in a rice cooker, or place in a coated pot and cook dinner within the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 levels Fahrenheit.


Once you’re able to serve, separate the scales of the lily bulbs. Then, put together your garnishing salad by tossing collectively lily scales, ginger, pink chili, cilantro, lime juice and zest, and salt.

Place a candy potato on a plate and prime with the curry sauce. Serve rice alongside the potato or in a separate dish. End the curry-topped candy potato with crispy potato skins and ready garnishing salad.


  • 1 cup Garlic cloves
  • .5 cup Tamarind puree
  • 3 cups Vegetable oil
  • .5 lb Lengthy pink scorching chili
  • 2 lbs White onions
  • 3 sticks Lemongrass
  • .5 lb Galangal
  • 5 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Floor cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Floor cardamom
  • .5 tsp Nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp Turmeric
  • .5 cup (or about 12) Cilantro stems, chopped
  • 3 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 3 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 3 tsp Peppercorns


In a scorching, dry pan (or within the oven in a roasting pan), toast the coriander, cumin and black peppercorns, after which grind utilizing a meals processor. Add the remaining substances to the meals processor and mix till it kinds a paste.

Place the paste in a pot and cook dinner on very low warmth for 3 to 4 hours till oil surfaces to prime. Cool and retailer in an hermetic container. You too can portion it out and freeze the paste for an prolonged time period. | Love Baked Candy Potatoes? Make this Curry Twist from Chef Nicole Gajadhar


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