For this dish you can use either yams or sweet potatoes, depending on the degree of sweetness or moisture, you prefer. It is little more than a seasoned mashed root vegetable dish, and is nice with a Vedic or Western dinner menu. To keep calories to a minimum, rely on the orange juice to make a buttery consistency. The sweet, firm flesh of Italian plum tomatoes is ideal for this bharta, though you can use any type; even green tomatoes are delicious.
Preparation time: a few minutes (after assembling ingredients)
Cooking time: about 10 minutes
6 medium-sized yams or sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds/1 kg) freshly ash-or oven-baked
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
½ teaspoon (2 ml) turmeric
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) paprika or 1/8 tsp cayenne
¼ teaspoon (1 ml) ground nutmeg or mace
4 table spoons (60 ml) orange juice
½ teaspoon (2 ml) orange zest
3 table spoons (45 ml) ghee or butter
1 ½ table spoons (22 ml) brown sugar or jaggery
2 medium-sized Italian plum tomatoes (about ¾ pound/340 g), seeded and coarsely chopped
2 table spoons (30 ml) sliced almonds, toasted
Cut and scoop out the yam or sweet potato pulp and mash with a potato masher or force through a food mill or potato ricer. Add the salt, turmeric, paprika or cayenne, nutmeg or mace, orange juice and orange zest, and whisk with a fork until well blended.
Heat the ghee or butter in a 12-inch (30 cm) frying pan over moderate heat. Add the sweetener and cook until it caramelizes and turns reddish-brown. Drop in the tomatoes and cook, gently tossing, justly until they soften and glisten.
Add the yams or sweet potatoes and, using the back of a wooden spoon, mash and blend the ingredients. When warmed throughout, serve on a warmed platter, garnished with toasted almonds.
Serve with Cranberry-Apple Chutney
Adapted from Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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