Satay sweet potato curry is a fusion of an aromatic sauce featuring Thai red curry paste, peanut butter, and coconut milk that transform sweet potatoes and spinach into a rich and savory curry.
This proves it. Curry is an idea with no set rules. Maybe some professional chefs will argue, but I try to keep rule breaking at a minimum. What I never resist keeping to a minimum is discovering tasty combinations of ingredients that break a few traditional ideas.
And here’s the bonus for this recipe. We are talking seriously easy. There are 2 main ingredients – sweet potatoes and spinach. A sauce with 2 ingredients – red curry paste and peanut butter. And a few flavor enhancers – onions, garlic, ginger, and red chili. Wrap that up with coconut milk and lime juice and yep, it’s a flash meal.
As a part of Indonesian cuisine satay is usually presented as skewers coated in a peanut sauce. That was partially my concept behind satay soy curls (although I skipped the skewer part).
Now that satay has been elevated as a global cuisine, it’s been transformed into numerous kinds of dishes, including this curry. What do they have in common? Why, the sauce of course.
There are a lot of ways to approach satay sauce. My aim for this recipe was to create a simple approach that ultimately, ended up with a combination of 3 ingredients:
Thai red curry paste
1 cup of vegetable broth
We’ll be adding coconut milk which creates the sauce. If you want a lower fat version for coconut milk, you can substitute with 1 ½ cups of plant milk. Along that line, you can use coconut milk and a veggie stock cube to give you a bit of coconut flavor. Alternatively, add a drop or 2 of coconut extract.
I depended on the sweet potatoes to lend enough sugar without adding any date paste, agave syrup, or another liquid sweetener. If you use my easy satay sauce method with other vegetables, you may want to add a touch of sweetness.
About red curry paste
Sweet potatoes and Thai flavor first made its debut on our table in a simple curry, but I found myself returning to that idea and thinking about new ways to combine the sweetness of the potatoes and that Thai flavor that so distinctive from the red curry paste. That's why it's essential that you don't skimp when it comes to curry paste.
Hands down, my preference when it comes to red curry paste is to make my own. Skip here if you want to discover how easy this is. Control freak that I am, I’m happy to trade a bit of time and effort in gathering ingredients and blending them for complete transparency as to what I’m eating. You will only use 3 tablespoons for the sweet potato curry, so if you make your own, you will likely have paste leftover that you can freeze for another curry day.
If you buy curry paste, be sure to read the ingredient list. Many curry pastes contain shrimp paste and often, even the vegan brands have added oil. Do the investigating before you buy. I once had to throw out several packages after thinking I’d been so careful about the ingredients. Ok, they were in Chinese and Dutch, so give me a bit of a break.
Tips for making satay curry
This satay curry recipe is the essence of uncomplicated. One-pot, easy ingredients, and versatile in terms of substitutions. That makes it perfect for beginners or when you want something easy and quick.
Once you sauté the onions, add the garlic, ginger, and red chili, you’ll just pour in the sauce and cook the sweet potatoes. You want to allow about 20 minutes for the potatoes to get tender. This will depend on how bit the cubes are. If you want to speed things up, make the cubes small.
There is enough time while the sweet potatoes are cooking to chop the spinach. If you use baby spinach, then you may decide to avoid chopping altogether. Likewise, if you substitute kale, you want to chop it and allow about 10 minutes for it to soften. Add kale after the sweet potatoes are tender.
After a bit of experimentation, I strongly suggest that you mix the curry paste, peanut butter and 1 cup of vegetable broth or water in a small dish. Add the ‘sauce’ mixture to the pot before adding the coconut milk and sweet potatoes. This ensures that your peanut butter and curry paste is equally distributed.
I’ve had too many experiences of add a tablespoon of peanut butter directly into a pot of bulgur or quinoa only to ‘discover’ it on someone’s plate. How unfair is that?
I intentionally wanted this curry to be saucy enough to pare with rice or rice noodles. If you are cooking rice, plan for the timing. I usually start it right before I add the sweet potatoes because I like brown basmati.
A few squeezes of fresh lime juice squeezed over individual plates is a real flavor boost, so consider cutting another lime into wedges if you like a little zing. Chopped peanuts are a premium garnish, so if you dare, add a few. They make a nice crunch and enhance the satay flavor.
The combination of red curry paste, and peanut butter is well-suited for sweet potatoes, but just about any veggie combination could be transformed into satay curry. Carrots will give you added sweetness and pairs well with spinach, but even a bag of frozen vegetables could be transformed into a tasty meal-on-the fly.
The ‘real’ thing with sweet potatoes and spinach is unequivocally my favorite. I’m always trying to find great ways to enjoy spinach and you don’t need to call me twice if potatoes are involved. And don’t ask me twice if I want seconds. I do. Peace.Print
satay sweet potato curry
Satay sweet potato curry is a fusion of red curry paste, peanut butter, and coconut milk that transforms sweet potatoes and spinach into a mouthwatering plant-based delight.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Main Courses
- Cuisine: Thai
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1- inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (1 Tbsp.)
- 1 red chili (you can also use a jalapeno), diced. Remove the seeds if desired
- 3 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 cup of vegetable broth or water
- 15 oz. (400 ml.) can of coconut milk
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 6 packed cups spinach (5 cups chopped) (8 oz./200 gm. bag)
- 1 fresh lime, juiced (1 more for garnish if desired)
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts (optional)
- Cooked rice or rice noodles to serve
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Thai red curry paste, peanut butter, and vegetable broth or water. Set aside.
- Heat a medium pot over medium heat and then sauté the onions for 5 minutes until they start to soften.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and diced red chili. Stir for about 30 seconds to combine.
- Add the curry paste mixture and stir to release any onion stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the coconut milk and sweet potatoes and bring the pot to a rolling simmer. Cover and simmer the potatoes until they are tender (about 20 minutes).
- When the potatoes are tender, mix in the spinach, and lime juice. Cook the spinach for about 5 minutes to let it wilt.
- Garnish with lime wedges and/or chopped peanuts.
- Serve with rice or rice noodles.
- The nutritional information below does not include rice.
- Read the labels before buying curry paste. It can be made with shrimp paste or contain added oil.
- You can substitute coconut milk for 1 ½ cups of plant milk. This will cut the fat. If you want a coconut flavor, consider using coconut water plus a veggie stock cube to make the satay sauce. You can also flavor the plant milk with a few drops of coconut extract.
- The cooking time for the sweet potatoes depends on how big the cubes are. Estimate about 20 minutes.
- For a thicker curry, you can mash a few of the sweet potatoes with the back of a spoon once they are soft.
- You can substitute kale for the spinach. Allow about 10 minutes for it to soften.
Keywords: satay sweet potato curry