Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato and Green Bean Stir Fry with Coconut Turmeric Rice

This is a recipe I have adapted from an Asian vegetarian cook book I picked up at the Lifeline bookfest.

The sweet potato provides a lovely sweet taste and contains nutrients such as vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron and magnesium. The crunchy green beans, spring onions and peanuts are a great contrast to the soft sweet potato and the brown rice satisfies the healthy grains quota.

Cooking the rice in coconut milk is optional. There are differing opinions about whether coconut milk/cream is healthy, so my general suggestion would be not to have it too often and only use it in small quantities.

This meal is a great healthy substitute when you feel like Malaysian or Indonesian takeaway, simple and delish!

What you need to serve four lucky people:

For the stir fry:
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and diced into 2 cm pieces
  • 300g green beans, tops and tails removed and chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 3 red chillies, chopped (use the small chillies if you like it spicy)
  • 1 brown onion diced
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped and extra for garnish
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced spring onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp ketjap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp  tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp water
For the rice:
  • 2 cups of uncooked brown rice, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 cup of light coconut milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1cm grated fresh turmeric (1tsb dried if you don't have fresh)
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf cut into thin slices (can use dried or from a jar if you don't have fresh)

How to cook it:
  • put all of the ingredients for the rice into a pot, bring to the boil then lower to a simmer and partially cover with a lid (or if the lid has a steam valve you can cover it completely).
  • steam or boil sweet potato until just tender - you want it to still have some bite and hold together when poked with a fork - this should take around 10-15 minutes.
  • take the sweet potato off the heat and add the green beans to the pot of water for 30 seconds to blanch.
  • remove the beans and sweet potato, rinse in cold water to stop the vegetables from cooking further, drain and set aside.
  • check the rice and if it is cooked but still has a slight bite take it off the heat and pop the lid on the pan to let it rest- it should take around 20 minutes to be cooked to this point.
  • pour the coconut oil into a frying pan over medium heat.
  • once the oil has heated add the onion, garlic and chili and stir occasionally for around 2 minutes.
  • once the onion mixture has some colour, stir through the ketjap manis, tamarind paste, lemon juice and water and continue to stir for around 30 seconds.
  • add the peanuts, sweet potato and beans immediately and stir to coat. Make sure there is some mixture covering all of the potato and beans. If there doesn't appear to be enough sauce add more of the sauce ingredients until desired amount of sauce has been reached.
  • divide the coconut rice between four plates, followed by the sweet potato mixture next to the rice.
  • top the sweet potato mixture with spring onion, extra chopped peanuts and fresh coriander.
  • enjoy!
Make it naughty: use 1 cup of coconut cream instead of coconut milk for a creamier rice. If you like a sweeter stir fry add 1 tbs of grated palm sugar or brown sugar in with the ketjap manis, tamarind paste and lemon juice.