The festive season is upon us and in Australia that means hot days, cold drinks and lots of alfresco eating. When the weather’s warm, I crave salads – not so much the stock standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and carrot variety with a basic supermarket vinaigrette, rather ones with cooked vegetables and pulses, nuts, herbs and creative dressings.
This sweet potato salad was first introduced to me at a family gathering many years ago. The recipe from another family, but so impressive at its first tasting that it’s been written down and recreated by my grandmother, mother and myself ever since.
I’ve taken it to barbecues, picnics and Christmas Day celebrations and it always receives rave reviews, so if you’re after a new salad to try this summer, perhaps this is one to consider…
What you’ll need
- 1.25kg of sweet potato
- 200 grams of unsalted cashews
- 100 grams of fried noodles
- One cup of finely chopped coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon of red curry paste
- 90ml of coconut milk
- Two tablespoons of lime juice
- One and a half tablespoons of brown sugar
- Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil + a little extra
- One teaspoon of minced or finely chopped garlic
- One tablespoon of minced ginger
How to do it
- Preheat a fan forced oven to 180°c. Peel and roughly dice the sweet potato into small cubes and place them in a small bowl. Add a couple of glugs of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Pour out onto a large baking tray and cook for roughly 30-40 minutes, or until the edges of your cubes start to slightly brown and they’re cooked all the way through.
- While the sweet potato is in the oven, using a small frypan heat two tablespoons of oil. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. The ginger will spit when it’s cooking in the hot oil, so be mindful of bare arms and small children/pets when doing this. Let cool slightly.
- In a jar or small jug combine the red curry paste, coconut milk, lime juice and brown sugar. Stir or shake to combine. Add in the oil/garlic and ginger mixture and then shake or stir again to fully combine all ingredients.
- When you’re ready to serve combine the cooked sweet potato, cashews and noodles in a large bowl. Add the dressing, then lightly toss. If coriander is a contentious ingredient in your house like mine (I love it, Adam detests it!) serve it in a separate bowl, so individuals can choose to add it or not, once portioned on their plates.
The dressing for this salad keeps for one to two weeks if stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It tends to thicken slightly, so I usually pull it out the fridge before I started dicing the sweet potato. By the time I’m ready to assemble the salad, all I need to do is give it a quick shake or stir and it’s ready to go.
Adam and I have already eaten this twice in the last few weeks, both times with some barbecued meats and it’s been delicious. Leftovers store quite well in the fridge for a few days, but the noodles and nuts do soften so keep that mind. If you’re serving this to a crowd I recommend having all your elements cooked and ready to go, as bringing them all together only takes a few minutes and the softness of the sweet potato, combined with the crunch of the nuts and noodles is one of this dish’s highlights.
This salad is vegetarian and vegan friendly and I’ve used it as a base for a stand alone salad meal too, adding baby spinach leaves, pan fried halloumi and cooked meat to it as well. It’s a versatile little recipe to add to your repertoire.
Have a wonderful week.