Thai-Spiced Sweet Potato Stew
Full of bright colors and complex flavors, this Thai-inspired sweet-potato stew provides the perfect culinary escape from winter woes.
When gloomy skies and midday drizzles damper your day, splash a subtle hint of color and spice into your life with this flavorful Thai stew. Nothing banishes winter-weather blues like a bowl of hearty soup, and this recipe gets an extra warming kick from curry and ginger. With Thai ingredients available at most natural-foods stores and well-stocked supermarkets, it's easy to enjoy the delightful flavors of this cuisine at home.
Use your discretion with the red or green curry paste. A little will give a hint of heat, but if you want a spicier stew, step it up from there. If you're feeling particularly industrious, you can whip up your own curry paste for a healthier and more flavorful alternative to the store-bought variety. If getting dinner on the table quickly is a more pressing concern, pre-made vegan varieties, both green and red, are available—just watch out for sneaky ingredients such as shrimp paste or anchovies.
What You Need:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly slices
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1-1⁄2 pounds), peeled and diced
- 3 cups water
- 1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into narrow strips
- 1-1⁄2 cups frozen green beans
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red or green curry paste, more or less to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 stalks lemongrass (optional)
- One 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
- Salt to taste
- One 8-ounce package Thai peanut-flavored baked tofu, diced (optional)
- Cilantro leaves for garnish
What You Do:
- In a soup pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both are golden.
- Add the sweet potatoes and water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are about half done.
- Add the bell pepper, green beans, curry paste, sugar, and ginger. If using lemongrass, cut each stalk into 3 or 4 pieces, and bruise by making long cuts throughout with a sharp knife. Stir into the soup pot. Simmer the stew for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the coconut milk, peanut butter, salt, and tofu. Return to a simmer, then cook over very low heat for another 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender and the flavors are well integrated.
- Remove lemongrass pieces. Taste to adjust seasonings, particularly the curry paste if you'd like a spicier stew, as well as the salt, sugar, and ginger. Serve at once, topping each serving with a few cilantro leaves.
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