This was an experiment, based on an improvised wok preparation. The microwave head start for the sweet potatoes was recommended via a consult with Julia Collin-Davison at America's Test Kitchen.
You'll need a 5 1/2-to-6-quart slow cooker.
Make Ahead: The base sauce with rice and sweet potato needs to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before the remaining ingredients are added.
- 1 large (16 ounces) sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
- 1 cup raw jasmine rice or thai red rice
- 14 ounces no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, whole or diced
- 7 ounces canned low-fat coconut milk (about 1 cup)
- 3 to 4 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 pound tilapia fillets
- 6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, rolled and cut crosswise into thin ribbons, for garnish
Combine the sweet potato and garlic in a baking dish. Microwave on HIGH for 8 minutes; the sweet potato should be slightly softened. (This step allows it to finish in the slow cooker when the rice is done.)
Combine the oil and rice in the slow cooker, stirring to coat. Add the parcooked sweet potato and garlic, stewed tomatoes and enough water to barely cover (about 1 1/2 cups). Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (The time will depend on which rice you use; the jasmine rice cooks quicker than the red rice.) The rice and potato should be tender and the liquid should be absorbed.
Gently stir in the coconut milk and curry paste (to taste). Cover and cook on HIGH for 10 to 20 minutes, then uncover and gently add the fish, pressing to submerge it in the rice mixture. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15 to 20 minutes; the fish should be opaque and flake easily.
Use a slotted thin spatula to transfer the fish, along with some of the rice mixture, to individual plates. Garnish with the basil.
Alternatively, stir to form a thick, messy stew, then spoon it into individual bowls. Garnish each portion with basil. Serve warm.
From Baltimore freelance writer and editor Martha Thomas.
Tested by Martha Thomas and Bonnie S. Benwick.
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