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Indian Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans

Indian Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans

Adapted from Vikas Khanna; winter squash could be subbed for the sweet potato, and likewise, just about any bean can be used in placed of black beans, although I have always particularly loved black beans with sweet potatoes.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Author TheSpicedLife


  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2- pieces
  • salt to taste
  • 2 15 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t paprika or cayenne
  • 1 t sugar
  • pinch garam masala
  • 1/2 cup water
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Place the thinly sliced shallots in a bowl of cold water--this will keep the raw onion from bothering your stomach. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet with the cinnamon stick over medium heat. When it is unfurling and fragrant, add the cumin seeds. Stir them occasionally and let them roast in the oil until they are fragrant and have darkened, about 2 minutes. Do not let them burn.
  3. Add the chopped red onion with a pinch of salt. Stir to mix the cumin seeds throughout. Let the onions cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sweet potato with a pinch of salt. Stir into the onions and then let brown on one side, about 5 minutes or so.
  5. Stir the sweet potatoes and onions, scraping at the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. Add the black beans, turmeric, paprika (or cayenne), sugar and a pinch of garam masala. Let cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the water and bring to a boil. Also use the water to deglaze the pan. When it is boiling, cover the pan and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. After 10 minutes, the sweet potatoes should be cooked through and the mixture should be mostly dry. Simmer longer if the sweet potatoes are not cooked through or simmer uncovered for a minute or two to dry out the mixture if that is needed.
  8. Add the juice of one lemon and taste for more salt or a tiny pinch more garam masala (the spicing should be subtle). Drain the thinly sliced shallots and toss them into the dish and then sprinkle with cilantro and serve warm.