, Newburyport, MA


April 2, 2014

Spicing things up

Port cook puts a global twist on homemade dishes


— Adapted from a recipe at and served at March’s First Friday Social at the Custom House Maritime Museum

Martinique Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Aubergine & Pineapple

Serves 4. Vegan and gluten-free.

For the Colombo spice mix:

3 tablespoons cumin seeds

3 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon whole cloves

3 tablespoons ground turmeric

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, toast all the whole spices (not the turmeric) until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 or 3 minutes. Don’t take your eyes off them, they will burn. Remove from the heat, and tip into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, and grind to a powder.

Toast the turmeric in the same pan over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Combine the turmeric with the rest of the spices, and store in an airtight container. Makes about 3/4 cup.

For the curry:

1 tablespoon Colombo powdered spice mix (see above)

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped

3 small or one large scotch bonnet chilis, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large aubergine, cut into 2-centimeter cubes

1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into 2-centimeter cubes

3 small green peppers (the long, small frying peppers), deseeded and 2-centimeters diced

1 tin coconut milk (400 milliliters)

400 milliliters vegetable stock

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

2 bay leaves

1/2 small pineapple, core removed, cut into 2-centimeter cubes

1/2 lime, juiced

2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped, plus leaves for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and chili, and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add in the aubergine and sweet potato cubes, and cook for about 4 minutes until just softening and turning golden brown.

Stir the spice mix through to coat all the vegetables, cook for a further 2 minutes and season with 1 teaspoon salt.

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