Black rice isn’t just about the drama, it has a wonderfully nutty taste with a slight chew that holds up to rich toppings like this curry. Sometimes called forbidden rice, I easily find it at stores like the Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Sprouts or in the Asian section of larger groceries. There are different varieties, so cook it according to the instructions on the package. Of course, this dish is wonderful at any time of year over any type of rice you prefer. Cube the sweet potatoes into to easily managed pieces of roughly the same size so they cook evenly. You could easily adapt this to chunks of butternut squash, just monitor the cooking time accordingly. I like to add chickpeas for some added protein, but if they are not your thing leave them out. You could also stir in a couple of handfuls of spinach at the end of cooking just to wilt if you like. I like the spice balance here, but feel free to add some red pepper flakes if you want to amp up the heat. I went for Halloween drama here, but a sprinkle of chopped cilantro would be a nice herby finish, and some naan bread is a perfect vehicle for scooping up the sauce.
Sweet Potato Curry over Black Rice
1 cup of black rice
1 pound of sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)
1 small white onion
3 -4 garlic cloves
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ Tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 ( 13.66 ounce) can coconut milk
1 cup tomato sauce or passata
2 teaspoons salt
Generous grinds of fresh black pepper
1 ( 15.5 ounce can) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Cook the black rice according to the packet instructions. It can take 30 minutes or more, so plan accordingly.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into cubes of about 1/2 – inch, evenly sized.
- Put the onion into chunks and put it in a small food processor with the garlic cloves and fresh ginger and grind to a rough paste. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat, then add the onion paste. Cook until the paste is soft, drying out and just beginning to brown at the edges, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Don’t brown it much, just little bits peeking through. Add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, and ground ginger and stir to combine – the paste will come together in a mass. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute until really fragrant and a deep orange color. Pour in the coconut milk and tomato sauce and stir to combine well and smooth out the lumps from the spice paste. Stir in the salt and pepper, the add the sweet potato cubes and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat, then cover the pot and simmer for about 10 -15 minutes until the potatoes are just fork soft, then stir in the drained chickpeas until and simmer, stirring a few times, until the potatoes are tender and the chickpeas are heated through.
- Serve the curry immediately spooned over the black rice.