As much as I love my vegetarian meals, there are times when I think, "man, this would be so much better with some chicken." Luckily, that's not the case with this sweet potato lentil halloumi curry. Personally, I think curry is one of those meals that can be vegetarian and still have a ton of flavor. All of the spices and aromatics play a key role in developing flavor such as the mango chili compote in this curry. The crispy sesame chickpeas and pan-fried halloumi don't hurt either!
Sweet Potato Lentil Halloumi Curry
Mango chili compote
- 2 mangoes peeled, seed removed, chopped
- ½ cup water (125 ml)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50 grams)
- 1 Fresno diced
- juice of ½ lime
Sweet potato lentil curry
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ medium onion diced
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 2 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled, sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
- ½ cup lentils
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 14 ounces coconut milk
- 2 bunches kale about 3 cups, destemmed and torn into piceces
- ½ cup mango chili compote
- salt and pepper
- 14 ounces canned chickpeas drained, rinsed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 ounces halloumi sliced
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- rice and naan for serving
- Make the mango chili compote. Combine the mango, water, brown sugar, Fresno, and lime juice in a medium saucepot. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer over low heat and continue to cook until the mango is softened, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and spices (paprika - cinnamon), stirring to combine. Continue to saute until the tomato paste has caramelized, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the sweet potatoes, lentils, vegetable stock, and coconut milk to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the kale and mango chili compote and continue for another 2 minutes or until the kale is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- While the curry is simmering, make the crispy chickpeas. Pat dry the drained rinsed chickpeas with a kitchen towel or paper towels. Heat 2 tbsp olive in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chickpeas until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Season the chickpeas with cumin, sesame seeds, and honey, stirring to combine. Saute another minute and then set aside.
- Wipe the pan clean and heat another tablespoon of oil. Pan-fry the halloumi until browned on both sides, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
- Top the sweet potato lentil halloumi curry with halloumi, crispy chickpeas, cilantro, and extra mango chili compote. Serve with rice and naan if desired.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
There are many components to this sweet potato lentil halloumi curry but every piece plays a key role in making the most flavorful curry. Let's start by making the mango chili compote. To make the compote, simmer the mango with brown sugar, lime, Fresno, and water until the fruit has softened and there is almost no liquid left. Unlike a jam, this compote has chunks of mango. If mango is not in season, feel free to use frozen. You can also prepare the compote several days in advance.
Now let's start making the actual curry. We're going to immediately start building flavor by sauteing the onion until softened. Add the ginger, garlic, tomato paste, and spices, and let it saute for 2 minutes or until the spices become aromatic and the tomato paste is caramelized. Don't worry if the mixture sticks to the bottom of the pot; it'll release once we add the liquid.
Add the sweet potatoes, lentils, vegetable stock, and coconut milk, and cook the curry until the sweet potatoes are tender. If you're not a fan of sweet potato, you can swap it out for another starch like butternut squash or potatoes. You can also skip the starchy vegetable entirely and use cauliflower, broccoli, peas, zucchini, pretty much any vegetable you like! (Or you can be a complete rebel and add meat to the curry). That's the great thing about this recipe, it's so versatile!
While the sweet potato lentil and halloumi curry is simmering away, make the remaining toppings. Rinse and drain the chickpeas, making sure to pat them dry before sauteing them. This is the secret to making the beans crispy. Season them with cumin, sesame seeds, and honey and set them aside.
Wipe the pan clean and pan-fry the halloumi until golden brown on both sides. I'm a little obsessed with halloumi because, well, it's a cheese that can be cooked! Do you know the crispy cheese edges of grilled cheese? It's like that but better.
Finish the curry by adding the kale and mango chili compote and giving it a final seasoning. Sprinkle the crispy chickpeas on top along with the halloumi and fresh cilantro and serve with extra mango chili compote.
Serve the sweet potato lentil halloumi curry with rice and naan if desired and dig in! I gotta say, I absolutely loved the addition of the mango chili compote in the curry. It added a lovely sweetnesss to the dish with a hint of spice. The crispy chickpeas added texture while the halloumi... well, I think you already know how I feel about halloumi. Such a wonderful vegetarian curry!
For more vegetarian curry inspiration check out this cauliflower and chickpea vadouvan curry!