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Holiday Cooking (with a twist): Part 1

December 7, 2011

I really like themes and variations. Well, mostly I like the variations, and I have a particular penchant for traditional holiday (Christmas/Thanksgiving) foods that are a little bit different.

Take these sweet potatoes, for instance. I made this recipe for a work dinner this past Saturday and everyone really liked them. They’re a bit of a Thai take on sweet potatoes and they are a wonderful substitution for the sticky-sweet-overly-marshmellowed-to-death ubiquitous side dish. I never liked sweet potatoes as a child, and I think that’s the reason why.

These are different, though, and one student said “I never liked sweet potatoes much, but like these.” They’re also easy to make, too, and you could prepare them in advance and then just stick them in the oven to heat up while you make everything else.

The original recipe called for red curry paste, but all I had was green curry paste and it didn’t alter the color and the taste was great. So, if you have curry paste you enjoy, use that. (Don’t substitute curry powder for curry paste.)

Mashed Curry Sweet Potatoes

6 medium sweet potatoes

3/4 C. coconut milk

2 1/2-3 t. Thai curry paste (red or green, whatever you have/prefer)

1/4 C. plus 3 T. maple syrup

4 T. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 t. coarse salt (like kosher salt)

Preheat oven to 375. Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Bake on a baking sheet until soft, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly. Peel potatoes, transfer to a bowl, and mash with a potato masher.

Bring coconut milk and curry paste to a simmer in a saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes. Add potatoes along with 3 T. maple syrup, 2 T. butter, and the salt. Stir.

Preheat boiler. Butter a 6-cup baking dish. Spoon mixture into dish and smooth top. Drizzle with remaining maple syrup. Dot with remaining butter, cut into small pieces. Broil until tops are sizzling and browned, 3-4 minutes. (Or you can place the potatoes in the oven with everything else to make sure they’re heated through. Broiling them is not really a necessary part of the recipe, though it does give them a nice crust.)

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