Yam and Pork Curry

I have a friend whose favorite food product is the yam, and her favorite food preparation style is curry. So naturally, when she came to visit a couple of days ago, a yam curry was in order.  Mind you, those big tubers that we get in the grocery store are not properly yams. Yam is the common name for some species in the genus Dioscorea. These are perennial herbaceous vines cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.  Those golden orange goodies called “yam” in most U.S. groceries are the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), typically one of the darker, orangey strains.

Botany aside, we’ll use the term yam here, because that is what most people know them as – and it is not likely you will go on a field trip looking for the true yam.  The original recipe for this came from Cooking Light. I made it according to the recipe, as pictured.  However, the original recipe called for 3 potatoes, with out accounting for the size of the tubers. Mine were really big, and they kind of overwhelmed the dish, even for someone who loves yams.  So I made a more precise measurement, and also recommend cutting them into smaller pieces so you can get a mouthful of pork and yam at the same time.  I served it over brown rice.

This is not heavily curry-spiced, like Indian curries.  It is somewhat more tomato-based, and to my mind, has a bit of a fresher flavor (although I love South Asian curries).

Yam and Pork Curry

1 3/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped in medium dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers seeded and minced*
4 cups of yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 14 1/2 ounce can of reduced sodium reduced fat chicken broth
1 14 1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, toss pork with 1 teaspoon curry powder and salt.  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet that can be covered (I use my stir fry pan) over high heat. Add pork and cook, stirring often until brown on all side.  It takes about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate.

Using the same pan, reduce heat to medium-low and add remaining t teaspoon oil to the pan. Add onion, garlic, and chili pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons curry powder and cook for one minute more.

Add chicken broth, yams, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender and sauce has thickened somewhat. This takes 20-30 minutes.  Add the pork you set aside, and cook until heated thoroughly, about 3 minutes.  Add black pepper to taste.  Makes 4 servings at about 5 grams of fat/serving.

*Ingredient note: During the recent scare about e-coli and jalapeno peppers, I bought a jar of dried jalapenos.  I used 1/2 teaspoon of this in the curry – which made it warm, but not hot. You could use more.  I actually like having the dried peppers, since I have a habit of buying them fresh and having them go bad before I get a chance to use them.  I’m not sure how they would work in a salad, but in a curry they’re fine.


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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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