Toggle navigation

Delicious: Sweet potato and chickpea curry

Sweet potato and chickpea curry is comfort food of the first order.

Warming, satisfying and dead-simple.


Sweet potato and chickpea curry. Photo - Olga Meltsova/shutterstock


What’s the difference between kumara and sweet potato? Nothing - kumara is the Maori word for sweet potato. Sweet potato is originally from Central or South America. Polynesian explorers are thought to have enjoyed it on their travels to the area and taken it with them as vine cuttings back to the Cook Islands in about 700. From there the tasty tuber spread across Polynesia to Hawaii and New Zealand, and also to Japan, China and the subcontinent. Sweet potato is also popular in Africa - Uganda is the second largest producer, after China.

The tuber stores well - in a dark cool place, not in plastic and not in the fridge - and can be used baked, fried, boiled and barbecued in savoury and sweet dishes. This recipe is easy to adapt to whatever you have in the cupboard or crisper. Add a bunch of chopped spinach or silverbeet. Enrich the sauce with coconut milk, or freshen it up with a squeeze of lime or lemon. Heat it up with extra chilli, or serve with a spicy lime pickle or tangy mango chutney.


Delicious sweet potato. Photo - Piyanat Nontasarn/shutterstock


What you need:


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3cm piece ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 dried red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 bunch coriander


What to do:

Heat a heavy-based pan over medium heat, add a slug of olive oil and cook the onion until transparent.

Add the garlic and ginger and stir a few minutes until fragrant, then add the spices, and cook a further minute.

Add the tin of tomatoes, then fill the can with water and add that too.

Chop the sweet potato into bite-size pieces, add to the curry, with enough water to cover. Bring back to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.

When the potato is soft all the way through, about 25 minutes, add the drained chickpeas and let them warm through for about five minutes.

Check the seasoning, then serve the curry with fresh coriander leaves on top, alongside warm naan bread or steamed rice, and a bowl of plain yoghurt.

About this article

Author: Robin Powell