Narasihman’s Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Curry: A recipe

Sweet Potato Curry

I have a good friend, Narasimhan, who used to live in Adelaide. He is from Tamil Nadu but resides in Bangalore.

When he was in Australia, he would regularly arrive at my place, bearing this curry and a bunch of roses, asking only that I cook some rice and maybe (under his guidance) some payasam. This curry is one of the best vegetable curries that I have tasted, or maybe it is the smell of the roses that biases my tastebuds.

I don’t know why it is called “Madras” Curry rather than “Chennai” Curry, but as this is his name for it, I won’t alter it.

Narasimhan, I miss you. Thank you for this recipe, and the tons of roses.

If you would like to make your own Sambar Powder visit this recent post which will explain the process.

I am posting the recipe for Maninas, who asked for it after I mentioned the dish in my last Monthly Review.

Narasimhan’s Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Curry

First Made: December, 2002
Source : Recipe from Nachi (Narasimhan), my good friend from Bangalore, and from my old Food_Matters site
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 10 mins to peel and chop vegetables
Cooking time: 15 mins
Sitting time: 15 – 30 mins to develop flavours
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it

1 large sweet potato, about 650 – 700 g, peeled and cut into 5cm cubes
1 large eggplant, about 450 g, cut into 5 cm cubes
500 g of spinach, blanched, dried and chopped
1 heaped Tblspn cumin seeds
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tblspn Madras Sambar Powder (buy or make your own) or a good Masala mix / curry powder
1 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn sea salt
0.25 tspn turmeric powder
50 ml sunflower oil or ghee
2 Tblspn chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

Heat oil or ghee in a heavy-based saucepan on low heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and allow to pop. Add the garlic and cumin seeds, and stir fry until garlic turns a golden brown colour.

Add the sweet potato pieces and cook for 5 minutes until the sweet potato is half cooked. Stir occasionally. Mix in the eggplant cubes, spinach, sea salt, sambar powder and turmeric powder. Cook on medium heat until the sweet potato and eggplant is tender.

Remove dish from stove and stir in the coriander leaves.

Allow the dish to sit for 15 -30 minutes to develop the flavours, and serve with rice and/or naan.

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About Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.
This entry was posted in 12 Early Summer, Eggplant, Indian, Spices and Herbs, Spinach, Sweet Potato and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Narasihman’s Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Spinach Madras Curry: A recipe

  1. syinti says:

    Chennai is the term coined in recent years. For most of them( Like my Father in law) it will always be good ol’ Madras.

    I never tried making a sweet potato dish and this curry sounds like it would be a good start.
    Also, I think you missed adding the Madras Sambar powder you mentioned in the ingredients

    Oh, I understood that India was returning to the original names of the cities, those used before the british came. Am I wrong? Thanks for letting me know about the omission. I will fix it at once.

  2. Lucy says:

    Delicious memories and a DELICIOUS curry!

    Happy 2008 – hope your year is grand.

    Thanks, Lucy – hope your 2008 has been great so far.

  3. Mansi says:

    wow, that was a nice post, just as much as the curry recipe:)

    I’m hosting a Game Night recipe event and would love to have one of your entries. Do check the details on my blog:)

    So sorry I missed your Games Night – I was away on holiday. It seems very very successful and I am looking forward to exploring the entries in the roundup.

  4. Cynthia says:

    This recipe begs to be made and I’ll be sure to make it for friends, tasting a little of it of course. I only like eggplant certain ways – as a choka, biganee, fire-roasted and then dry-curried. :)

    I am hoping that this recipe changes your mind about eggplant!

  5. Padmaja says:

    Its wonderful to ahve such good friends eh!!!
    Perfect dish to make in a very simple way!!

  6. Kamini says:

    Very unusual combination of ingredients but sounds yummy. This is definitely bookmarked…

  7. Asha says:

    A great friend! What a nice guy to bring flowers and a yummy curry! Recipe sounds good too, thanks!:)
    Chennai was called Madras by the British. Recently, Tamil Nadu decided to go back to their original name.
    Bangalore, where I come from, is called “Bengaluru” now, which was “Benda Kaaluru” (oldest name) before the British!:D

    Thanks for the clarification. Even in my recent trip, I saw names that had changed since I was last in India. In Karnatika and Kerala as well as Tamil Nadu. And of course, Mumbai is another well known name change.

    Of course it must be difficult for people who grow up in a place to have its name change. But I like the idea of the names returning to their original ones.

  8. vimmi says:

    Really liked how simple the veg is to make. and it is so nutritious too, has the best of everything.

  9. Namratha says:

    Aww, that’s so nice!! I bet this tastes great, just as good as it sounds :)

  10. Suganya says:

    I recently made a curry with pumpkin and eggplants. Aren’t they a great pair. Loved it. I know this would have tasted great too.

  11. Maninas says:

    I look forward to trying this! Thank you

  12. VivyWeere says:

    I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting!

  13. Maninas says:

    Can’t wait for the aubergine to come in season to try this! yum!

    I hope you do get to try it. It is very special.

  14. Tash says:

    was tasty, but added a bit of coconut milk to make it a bit more of a source. a bit of madras sambar doesnt go astray.
    good combo though!

    • Ganga108 says:

      Thanks Tash, it is great to play with recipes. Nachi called me from India the other night – I hadnt heard from him for 12 months or so, so it was good to catch up.

  15. Srivalli says:

    How delightful of your friend to call in so!..I think it will forever be Madras for me..wonderful dish..I think you re-posting all your posts is nice in another way..we get to see them all at once again..thank you for the efforts..

  16. Pani Thuly says:

    Just tried this recipe. It came out real tasty. Thanks so much to you and Mr. Nachi for the recipe. Madras will always be Madras to me too!

  17. Madras Curry says:

    What a great recipe for a vegetable Madras. Really unique! I’m just starting to put my favorite Madras recipe’s together at They are donated by a friends mum who I have very fond memories of as I was growing up. To her it will always be a Madras curry :)

  18. induction rev says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  19. ksimon says:

    I didn’t have the proper Madras Sambar Powder and had to substitute brown mustard seed for black, and used masala curry . I really enjoyed the combination of sweet potato, eggplant and spinach. It’s a fantastic recipe, and the next time I make it, I’ll take the time to make my own Madras Sambar powder and get some black mustard seed to be more authentic. It deserves it.

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