YIELD: 48 DUMPLINGS
For the filling:
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
½ tsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. plus 1 ½ tsps. kosher salt
1½ Tbsps. canola oil
2 tsps. mustard seeds
24 curry leaves
3 to 6 dried red chilies, coarsely crushed
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely crushed
1" piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
1 small jalapeno (seeded and veined for a milder flavor), finely diced
juice of 1 lime
For the batter:
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
¼ to ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt (or ½ tsp. table salt)
¼ tsp. asafetida (the dried root of an herb, optional)
½ cup water
4 cups canola oil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes, turmeric and 1 Tbsp. of kosher salt. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 25 minutes. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the mustard seeds begin to pop, about 1½ minutes. Add the chilies and cook until the curry leaves become brittle, about 1 minute longer. Add the peanut and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the ginger and jalapenos and cook for 1 minute, then transfer the mixture to the sweet potatoes.
Mash the sweet potatoes against the sides of the bowl until they are semi-smooth. Stir in 1½ teaspoons kosher salt and the lime juice. Take 2 tablespoons of sweet potato mixture and roll into a small ball; repeat with the remaining sweet potato mixture and set aside.
Heat the canola oil to 350 degrees in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, make the chickpea flour batter. Whisk together the chickpea flour, cayenne pepper, remaining kosher salt and asafetida (if using) in a small bowl.
Whisk in enough water so it resembles a thick pancake batter. Dip each sweet potato ball in the batter and roll in your hands to evenly coat.
Gently drop the ball into the hot oil and fry until it is golden brown, turning and basting often, for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the dumplings to a paper-towel-lined plate and serve hot with prepared chutney of your choice.
Photo and recipe: National Peanut Board