Fiery Sweet Potatoes with Thai Red Curry Paste



Fiery Sweet Potatoes with Thai Red Curry Paste

Recipes | Sides | Serves: 8-10 | Cooking Time: 1 hour + 40 minutes | Yield: 6-8 Cups

By Mark Zuleger-Thyss, Garden of Healing

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White potatoes can often be used interchangeably with sweet potatoes in many recipes, but you would not want to do that here. Sweet potatoes have that orange hue and subtle sweetness that add an appealing nuance.

This recipe calls for organic sweet potatoes - not yams. You cannot substitute yams for sweet potatoes, or vice versa, because the two root vegetables taste entirely different. They have very different nutritional compositions. A yam is starchy and dry, but a sweet potato is, as the name suggests, sweet and moister.

Take a pass on tan- or purple-skinned sweet potatoes; these are the "dry varieties." Stick with red or orange sweet potatoes, which are known as "moist" varieties. These contain more of the enzyme amylase, which breaks down starches into sugars.

Sweet potatoes are a superfood. They are rich in vitamin C and B6 and loaded with beta carotene, which functions as a potent antioxidant and vitamin A source.

There are few flavors as distinctive and delectable as curry. Red curry paste is a core flavoring for many Thai dishes. Our recipe uses red curry paste, known for its versatility. The spiciest curry is the green one, followed by the red, the yellow, and Massaman, the mildest of them all. Red curry is still spicy and a bit sweet, which plays to your savory taste buds more than the spicier green one.

Do not let the red curry paste scare you; this recipe is safe for people who are beginning to experiment. You might find it pleasantly sharp and appetizing. Thai red curry paste is spicy and bright and adds something special to this sweet potato dish.



  • 4 pounds organic sweet potatoes, red or orange varieties, medium-sized
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt



  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Always wash the skins of sweet potatoes before cooking or cutting them. Give them a firm scrubbing with a clean vegetable brush.
  3. Use medium-sized sweet potatoes (3 medium potatoes equal one pound). 4 pounds yield 6-8 cups cooked and mashed.
  4. Bake sweet potatoes on a baking sheet until very soft, about one hour. When they are cool enough to handle, peel, and mash them.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat coconut milk with red curry paste. Mix coconut mixture, half the brown sugar, half the butter, and salt into mashed sweet potatoes.
  6. Keep warm until ready to serve or cover and refrigerate for up to two days.
  7. At least 30 minutes before serving, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Put mashed sweet potatoes in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Uncover sweet potatoes, dot with remaining butter and brown sugar, and broil until brown and crusty on top. Check often to prevent scorching.
  9. Serve and enjoy.



Food as medicine: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a superfood, thanks to their many health benefits. They are rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6 and loaded with beta carotene. Sweet potatoes are a good, nutrient-rich source of carbohydrates, making them an excellent post-workout food. Carbohydrates are critical after physical activity. Sweet potatoes have scientifically been proven to help in weight loss.

Regular white potatoes and sweet potatoes are similar in their calorie, protein, and carbohydrate content, but white potatoes provide more potassium.

The fiber in sweet potatoes is beneficial for gut health. They contain two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Your body is unable to digest either type. So, it remains within your digestive tract and provides a variety of gut-related health benefits.


Food as medicine: Yams

Yams are a great source of fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, and antioxidants. They are linked to various health benefits and may boost brain health, reduce inflammation, and improve blood sugar control.

The skin of yam looks a bit like tree bark, while sweet potatoes are more reddish-brown. Real yams are a different root vegetable that is more like yucca in texture and flavor. They have bumpy, tough brown skin with starchy flesh, which is not sweet.



© 1996-2021 Mark Zuleger-Thyss, Garden of Healing. All rights reserved.

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