Weeknight Cooking

Sweet Potato Chana Masala + Bananas in Coconut Milk

February 16, 2014

We're celebrating Meatless Mondays with balanced, delicious meal plans. We hope you'll join us -- whether you're vegetarian all the time or just here and there. 

Today: These two dishes that might not be the most authentic recipes you've ever made, but that doesn't make them any less satisfying. 


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Olympics season is upon us, and that means two things: feeling inadequate about your own athletic skills, and cultural exchange. We're taking the Olympics as an opportunity to dabble in foods inspired by other parts of the world.

Sure, the chances are slim that you'll find sweet potato chana masala at your favorite Indian restaurant (let alone in India) or that your 10-minute, 3-ingredient version of bananas in coconut milk tastes like what you'd get in Thailand. But just because these two dishes might not be the most authentic recipes you've ever made doesn't mean they're not delicious in their own right. 

Tonight, let's be grateful that the sweet potato goes so wonderfully with Indian flavors, that coconut milk is common in U.S. grocery stores, and that figure skating is on TV.

The Menu

Take advantage of our handy grocery list and game plan, or click the recipe photos or titles to see (and save and print) the full recipes.

Sweet Potato Chana Masala by MrsWheelbarrow

Your Ten-Minute Bowl of Bananas in Coconut Milk by Nicholas

The Grocery List

Serves 2

1 large sweet potato
1 onion
1 serrano chile
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
1 bunch cilantro
1 tablespoon clarified butter or grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 pint crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 bananas
1/2 can of coconut milk 

You probably have garlic, cumin, cardamom, salt, sugar, and toppings for the bananas (chopped almonds, sesame seeds, or cinnamon) in your kitchen. If not, add those to the list. 

The Plan

1. Prepare your ingredients. Dice the sweet potato and the onion, mince one garlic clove, and seed and mince the serrano chile. Grate 1/2 teaspoon of the ginger and roughly chop the cilantro until you have 1/4 cup. Set all of these ingredients aside.

2. Steam the sweet potato in the microwave with 1/4 cup of water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat the clarified butter in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic, then sauté over medium heat until caramelized. 

4. Add the coriander seed, the garam masala, and 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin and cardamom. Add the grated ginger and cook for a minute or two. Then add the chile and cook for 2 more minutes. 

5. Pour in the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then gently simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Remove the cover, stir in the yogurt, and cook for 5 more minutes. Heat up the leftover pasta or rice you have in the fridge, then feast. 

7. Slice the bananas however you prefer. Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt over low heat. Add the bananas and cook for up to 10 minutes (the longer you cook, the mushier the bananas). Dish into bowls, garnish with whatever toppings you've got on hand, and dig in. 

Photos by James Ransom

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Daniella March 15, 2014
What is a pint of crushed tomatoes?? Canned or fresh? If canned, what size can?
Tereza February 17, 2014
Beautiful recipe! Love the use of coconut milk!

Panfusine February 16, 2014
Bananas in milk is a signature dish associated with South Indian Weddings. The Bride & groom are seated side by side on a swing and are fed this by all the older married women from both families. Thanks for evoking Nostalgia from my big day!
Sarah J. February 17, 2014
I had no idea! Thank you so much for sharing!