by Chef Sweet Baby James
Hey guys! Sweet Baby James from Blue Dream Curry here! It’s been a joy preparing food for the people of Asheville the last 3 years, and I’m very excited to be able to share some of my flavors with you! A little backstory:
My wonderful friend Julia Sickler has been working at the Prama Institute for about half a year now. Over the holidays I got to meet some of the amazing people she works with, and they opened my eyes to some of their dietary restrictions. When Sid, or Visuamitra, called me personally to request a reservation at my restaurant, I knew that I would have to craft something special for my new friends. This idea quickly blossomed from an opportunity to prepare something new for the people of Asheville into a chance to connect two wildly different buildings in harmony. Taking care of one’s mind, and body.
I prepare food for a variety of dietary restrictions. Vegan, gluten free, etc are nothing new to me. Ayurvedic cooking, however is something I’ve only read about. The Sattvic branch, was completely foriegn. After all, as a good old Southern boy, onions and garlic go into just about everything I cook. It’s usually the first step to any recipe. The Sattvic diet, often referred to as the yogic diet is free of several ingredients I commonly use as a crutch to generate flavors. This diet favors foods that are “pure, essential, natural, vital, energy-containing, clean, conscious, true, honest, wise”. The foods are as easy to digest as they are nutritious, focusing on seasonal foods, fruits, dairy products, nuts, seeds, oils, ripe vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and non-meat based proteins.
Let’s do this.
My journey began as it always does, conceptualizing and researching. I landed on a base recipe, with flavors that I myself longed to taste. I chose a Suran (yam) Kofta Curry. Mildly sweet, mashed yam croquettes, over a gently spiced tomato curry. I added Blue Dream’s house-made paneer, and a swirl of a yogurt based raita to make it rich and creamy. Ribbons of mint added a nice fresh crispness that balanced out the acidity and sweetness. I had struck gold.
Enjoy this recipe. I hope you have as much fun making it and I did creating it! Blessings, and hope to see you at Blue Dream soon!
Suran Kofta and Tomato Curry~
For the Kofta:
- 3lbs Fresh Yam or Sweet Potato
- ~1/2 cup Rice Flour
- 1 Jalapeño, deseeded and minced
- 1 Inch Fresh Ginger, finely minced
- 2 TB Brown Sugar
For the Curry:
- 6-8 Ripe Fresh Tomatoes
- chopped2 Jalapeños, deseeded and minced
- 1 Inch Fresh Ginger, finely minced
- 2TB Cumin Powder
- 1TB Garam Masala Powder
- 2tsp Coriander Powder
- Fresh Mint, minced
For the Raita:
- One Pint Greek Yogurt
- One Cucumber, deseeded and minced
- 1/2TB Ground Cumin
- 1/2TB Ground Coriander
- 1TB Mint, minced
- Pinch Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients for the raita together, placing in a plastic ziplock bag. Refrigerate.
Wash the yams, and pierce with a fork. Place the yams on a lightly greased baking sheet and roast in the oven until soft and caramelized( the natural sugars begin to brown) Between 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven, and cut the yams in half and let sit until cool to the touch.
Now it’s time to start the Curry. Working in batches, use a blender to purée the tomatoes adding a little water to liquify. This will be the base of the sauce.
Start a medium saucepan over very low heat. Add the cumin, garam masala and coriander, and stir to toast the spices. Once fragrant, add enough cooking oil to coat the bottom of the pan, stirring to mix in the powders. Add the minced ginger and Jalapeño, and adjust heat to low-medium. Once the ginger and jalapeño are fragrant, add the tomato purée, and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Adjust heat to low, allowing the curry to gently simmer. A pinch of sugar will help cut the acid from the tomatoes, and salt to your personal preference. Cook the tomato until the “raw” taste of the tomato disappears. About 10-15 minutes and take off heat.
Increase heat of oven to 450 degrees.
Returning to the yams, use a spoon to scoop the cooked flesh into a mixing bowl, discarding the skins. Mix in the ginger, jalapeño, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Slowly mix in rice flour, until the yams are easily formed into balls without being too sticky.Form into one inch balls, lining them back onto the greased sheet pan. Place back in the oven and cook until golden brown, around 10 minutes.
While the Kofta is baking, prepare your plates. Ladle the Curry in the center of a dinner plate. Take plastic bag of raita out of refrigerator, snipping a corner of the bag to create a pipette. Top each plate of curry with a swirl of the raita.
Remove Kofta from the oven, carefully transferring the Kofta from the sheet pan to prepared plate of curry. Garnish with fresh mint, and enjoy!
Serve with warm rice.