Kumara masala

Serves 4-6 depending on what else you serve with it.

Creamy sweet potatoes go perfectly with dosa – but they are hard to make, so I usually eat with rice, dahl and a vegetable curry unless I have lots of time. This recipe uses urad dahl, but that can easily be substituted with whatever you have. I find this site useful for comparing cooking times etc.


5 medium/large kumara – washed and chopped into 2cm pieces. Leave the skin on.

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

20 (ish) curry leaves

3 large dried red chillies

2 tablespoons split urad dahl

pinch asafoetida

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

1-2 onions – finely sliced.

1 tablespoon garlic or ginger (or mix)

1 teaspoon salt


  1. Place the chopped kumara in a large pan and cover with water. Salt lightly and bring to the boil. Cook until just al dente (don’t over cook as they will cook some more with the spices). Drain and cool.
  2. In another pan (big enough to hold the kumara as well eventually), heat the oil. When hot, turn down slightly and add the seeds. Cover and cook until the mustard seeds stop popping (shake a few times to prevent burning – it takes about 2-3 minutes).
  3. Add the curry leaves, chillies, urad dahl and asafoetida. Stir and cook until dahl is golden brown.
  4. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until soft and golden.
  5. Add the salt and mix.
  6. Add the kumara and about ¼ cup water. Mix well and leave on the lowest heat you have to slowly steam for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

This dish is traditionally made with potatoes, but any root vegetable will do.

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