Monday, November 8, 2010

Diwali Diva/Sweet potato Curry

This is the little make shift altar I made my wife so she could say her daily prayers. It used to be bigger , but it was in the spot I use for my Christmas "diorama", and she objected to me finding a temporary home for Lord Hanuman once a year. The plate on the floor has a clay ghee lamp sitting in it to mark the Hindu feast of Diwali, or Festival of Lights. According to my wife, the god Ram was in exile for 14 years rather than take his rightful place as heir to his father's fortune from a younger brother- sort of an Indian version of "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods". So, when Ram picked the darkest night of the year to return home, the people responded by marking the path through the forest with clay lamps. On a larger scale, the feast marks the triumph of good over evil and so becomes a Hindu combination of Christmas and Easter. In Guyana, Neeta tells me, people decorate their steps and either side of the path leading to their front door with lamps like these which they keep refreshed all night long. My wife prides herself with not being a "holy soul-ee" which I imagine to be someone who flaunts their religion in another's face, so this was a rather modest display. In India, the feast is celebrated for five days.

So, in spite of not wanting to appear too extreme in her devotion, she did make sure to remind me not to cook any meat, fish or egg for dinner on Friday in preparation for the holy day. This, therefore is my rendition of potato curry which I dutifully prepared.

Indian grocery stores in New York are filled with variations of vegetarian dishes like this. This is my Guyanese/Italian version.  The first thing you will notice amiss from traditional fare is the use of sweet potatoes which we both prefer and which lends a nice sweetness to the dish.The ingredients are simple as is most Guyanese food. Diced sweet potatoes, peas, diced onion, garlic, a hot chile, curry ( about half a teaspoon) and Guyanese Garam Masala.(a teaspoon). First I fry the garlic and onion in butter, then add the chile, curry and garam masala. When the onion is soft, I add the sweet potato and stir to coat with the butter and spices. Then, I add some water or vegetable broth to the pan and cover till the potato is soft. The last 5 minutes, I added a handful of frozen peas.I would use this method to prepare any vegetable curry.

1 comment:

  1. I love potato curry, but have never tried it with sweet potatoes. I have been looking for some new recipes that use sweet potatoes, since we have an abudance of them from our CSA. I'll have to try this. Thanks Joe!