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Sweet Potato Stew with Cumin, Coconut and Mustard Greens

March 05, 2012 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Sweet Potato Stew with Cumin, Coconut and Mustard Greens

If you’ve used different colored sweet potatoes along with the carrot, tomato paste and the final addition of dark mustard greens, this straightforward stew ends up looking complex, the colors alone quite capable of perking up a gray day. The coconut butter, which is dry and crumbly and resemble bits of feta cheese when crumbled over the top, adds a non-sugary accent of sweetness and intensity.


2 tablespoons light sesame oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or a crumbled cayenne pepper
1 cup cilantro stems or leaves, chopped
2 pounds sweet potatoes, (mixed varieties of orange and pale-fleshed tubers if possible), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 carrot, finely diced
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
2  cups water
sea salt

To Finish
Several mustard green leaves, stems removed, and simmered until tender
Juice of 1 lime
Coconut butter, 1-2 tablespoons


Heat the oil in a wide pot or Dutch oven then add the onion, cumin seed, pepper flakes and cilantro stems. Give a stir and cook over medium heat while you dice the sweet potatoes, if you haven’t done so already.  After 5 minutes, add the sweet potatoes, carrot and work in the tomato paste. Season with 1 ½ teaspoons salt, then add the water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  If there isn’t any hurry to serve the dish, let it stand for a few hours. The flavors only get better.
To finish, heat the dish, taste for salt. Season with the juice of ½ lime or more, as needed. Chop the cooked mustard greens and scatter them over the stew. Crumble the coconut butter over all using a tablespoon or two, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve.


In place of water, cook the vegetables in light coconut milk —1 can yields about 1 ½ cups, to which you can add additional coconut milk or water.
Drizzle roasted peanut oil over the stew before serving, keeping all the other additions as well.

Serves 6