Thai Red Curry Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have gotten a bad rap. Too often they are only relegated to star in a “Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole” topped with marshmallows, brown sugar and pecans. That’s even sweeter than many desserts! But sweet potatoes can also shine in savory side dishes. They’re delicious as sweet potato fries or simply baked with a dollop of butter.
Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family and are only distantly related to the potato and very distinct from a yam. This edible tuberous root comes in a wide variety of colors with the orange-red flesh varieties being the sweetest and the white and pale yellows less sweet. Christopher Columbus’ famous 1492 voyage introduced Europeans to the Caribbean Taino Indians’ “batata” – the name which eventually morphed into “sweet potato.”
I like to use sweet potatoes as the base for a very savory dish flavored with Thai red curry paste and coconut cream. The sweet potatoes are quickly microwaved, mashed and mixed with a range of flavors, put into individual ramekins and finished off under the broiler. The individual servings make a colorful and elegant side dish for a holiday dinner.
THAI RED CURRY SWEET POTATOES
4 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup coconut cream*
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (I like Thai Kitchen brand)
1 tablespoon maple syrup, more for serving
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
Olive oil cooking spray
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
4 tablespoons dry roasted pumpkin seeds (or pepitas)
Special equipment: four 1/2-cup ramekins
Microwave the sweet potatoes - in their skins - for 8-10 minutes until soft.
Slice the sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl. Add the coconut cream, Thai red curry paste, maple syrup, melted butter, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
With a hand mixer beat the sweet potato mixture until light and fluffy.
Coat the four ramekins with a small spritz of olive oil spray.
Fill each ramekin with a quarter of the mixture. Smooth the tops but leave little decorative peaks.
Preheat your broiler. Spray a little olive oil on top of each serving, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes until the tops are lightly browned.
Top each portion with minced chives and a tablespoon of roasted pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with a little more maple syrup if you’d like. Serve immediately.
*Native Forest Unsweetened Organic Coconut Cream 5.4 ounce can will yield 1/2 cup of solid coconut cream. Discard the liquid and freeze the extra 1/4 cup of solid cream in a small Ziploc bag for future use.