In this new episode of F&W Cooks, Samantha Fore of Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites prepares what she calls “one of my favorite easy dishes.”

By Bridget Hallinan
November 30, 2020
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“Tempering is one of the most valuable tenets of Sri Lankan cooking I learned from my mother,” Samantha Fore, owner and chef of Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites, wrote in the intro of her recipe for tempered curry-ginger sweet potatoes. And in this new episode of F&W Cooks, she shows viewers how to sizzle spices in oil or ghee so their flavor is enhanced and released into the oil—and how to prepare the sweet potatoes at home. She calls the recipe “one of my favorite easy dishes,” and it’s ready in just two steps and 40 minutes. Read on for her step-by-step method and follow along with the video above.

Cook the Sweet Potatoes

The first step in this recipe is to cook the sweet potatoes, and Fore says you can steam them, boil them, or bake them. She grabs two pounds and steams them in a pot outfitted with a steamer basket on the stove for 20 to 30 minutes.

Grab Your Ingredients for Tempering

While the sweet potatoes cook, prep the ingredients you’ll be cooking in the coconut oil. Fore uses pandan leaves, a sprig of curry leaves, ground turmeric, red-pepper flakes, black mustard seeds, cinnamon sticks, thinly sliced red onion, fresh ginger, and a banana pepper. To peel the ginger, Fore recommends using a spoon. Once the ingredients are all prepped, it’s time to temper.

Get Them in the Oil

Heat up some coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. To check the temperature of the oil, Fore says you can use the mustard seeds (bubbles will form around them as they start to cook). The cinnamon sticks go in next, followed by the red onion slices—turn down the heat slightly so they don’t burn. Next, in goes a little salt, and then Fore adds the curry leaves (feel free to add more if you want a stronger flavor, she says), and pandan leaves. Lastly, the banana pepper slices and ginger go in as well.

Fore says you can water or coconut milk to this mixture, “depending on the moisture that you want out of this dish.” She adds in the red-pepper flakes, turmeric, and salt—she’s “salting a little heavily here,” she notes, as it will also flavor the sweet potatoes. Turn down the heat a little after adding the spices, and add some water (this will help the mixture coat the potatoes). Once the mixture is slightly thickened, you’re good to go.

Plate the Sweet Potatoes and Finish the Onion Mixture

Once the sweet potatoes are peeled, sliced, and plated—don’t forget to season with salt—Fore grabs the onion mixture and gets ready to serve. Remove the cinnamon sticks, pandan leaves, and curry leaves, and pour everything else over the sweet potatoes.

Stir Carefully and Serve

You’ll want to coat both sides of the sweet potatoes in the onion mixture as you combine everything; however, be sure to toss gently. Otherwise, Fore notes, the sweet potatoes could fall apart. For the finishing touch, you can serve them with lime wedges and squeeze some lime juice over the top.

Get the Recipe: Tempered Curry-Ginger Sweet Potatoes