Sweet Potato Saag Aloo from the Hairy Dieters’ ‘Go Veggie’ book turned into a really satisfying experience. My teenager Will was mithering for an Indian takeaway and frowned with disappointment when he saw what his old man had served up. “Where’s the meat?”, he asked in irritation.
5 minutes later and his mood had lightened. “This tastes amazing Dad. Can we have it again?” There’s been few greater pleasures during the last few months than being able to change my son’s perceptions about food, particularly when it comes to introducing him to cheap, vegetarian-based dishes. This costs just over a £1 per portion to make.
If you don’t have all the suggested spices in, don’t worry, the Hairy Dieters state you can substitute them for mild curry powder instead, but it won’t taste as good. At just 200 calories per serving, this fab vege-based curry is going to become a regular in my home.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Saag Aloo
Calories: 200 per portion
Book: Hairy Dieters – Go Veggie
Prep time: Approx 20 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 25 minutes
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 20g fresh root ginger (grated)
- 1 tbsp spice mix (see below) or mild curry powder
- 2 sweet potatoes (diced)
- 1 tomato (diced)
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 150-200g bag of baby spinach (picked over and thoroughly washed)
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp ground tumeric
- A few green chillies (sliced)
- A few sprigs of coriander
Cost per portion: Approx £1.02
Method: If making the spice mix, toast the whole spices lightly in a frying pan, then grind them to a powder. Mix with the turmeric.
Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish or a deep frying pan. Add the onion and cook it quite briskly until it’s softened and very lightly browned. Add the garlic, ginger and the spice mix or curry powder and stir until combined.
Add the sweet potatoes to the pan and stir to coat them with the garlic, ginger and spices, then add the tomato and the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the stock to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pan and simmer very gently until the sweet potato is just cooked. This should take no longer than 10 minutes, but check regularly from 5 minutes as you don’t want the sweet potato to go mushy – it should still have a little bite to it. Loosen the sauce with a little more stock or water if necessary.
Add the spinach to the pan and cover the pan again until the spinach has wilted down. Stir very carefully to combine without breaking up the sweet potatoes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve garnished with green chillies and fresh coriander.