Sweet Potato Pie


K from Queensland wrote:
“I absolutely love all of your recipes, and have recently been asked to make a
vegetarian pie including seasonal vegies such as pumpkin, but i cannot find a
good recipe anywhere. Would you be so kind as to send me one!

My reply:
Yes, here’s one I made earlier (20 years earlier). Just as well recipes don’t age.

Sweet Potato Pie

This popular savoury pie features the delicious orange-fleshed kumeras, native New Zealand sweet potatoes. This recipe was from the lunch menu at Gopal’s Restaurant in Auckland, circa 1990.



TOTAL BAKING TIME: 25 to 35 minutes,

YIELD: one 20 cm (8-inch) pie.

Pie crust

1 cup unbleached plain flour,

1 cup wholemeal flour,

1 teaspoon salt,

1/2 cup butter,

up to 3/4 cup iced water


3 cups kumeras, peeled, steamed, and mashed,

1/4 cup each of the following vegetables (all lightly steamed and drained): cauliflower pieces, french beans cut into 2.5 cm (1-inch) lengths, corn, chopped spinach, carrot cubes, and broccoli flowerets,

1/4 cup butter,

1 tablespoon grated ginger, lightly sauteed,

1.5 teaspoons salt,

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,

3 teaspoons soy sauce,

1/2 teaspoon yellow asafoetida powder,

1-2 tablespoons raw sugar,

Handful chopped fresh herbs of your choice.

Sift the 2 flours and salt into a large bowl.

Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add enough chilled water to hold the dough together.

Knead briefly, working quickly to avoid over-handling. Cover the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

Pinch off two-thirds of the pastry and roll it into a smooth ball; then, with a rolling pin, roll it into a circle that comfortably fits inside and up the sides of one 20 cm (8-inch) buttered pie tin.

Prick with a fork and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/390°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

Thoroughly combine all the ingredients for the filling.

Spoon the filling into the pie base.

Roll the remaining pastry to the required size, place it on top of the pie, and crimp the edges of the top over the pie base.

Prick with a fork and place in the oven.

Bake at 190°C/375°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Variation: Place 1 cup (250 ml) grated cheese on top of the pie halfway through the baking.

Sinh To Bo

Rose-anne from Crows Nest, NSW Australia wrote me: “Hello Kurma. When I was in Vietnam I tasted a delish Avocado drink. Do you have a recipe? Cheers.”

My reply: Yes I do!

avocado smoothie:
Vietnamese Avocado Smoothie

If you

Kurma in Brisbane

idli and coconut chutney:

It’s been a while, but I’m finally returning to sunny Queensland to teach a cookery class.

Here are the details:

Black Pearl Epicure,

Fortitude Valley, Queensland,

Evening Cookery Demonstration,

Saturday October 30,

enquiries and bookings 07 3257 2144.

Saudi baharat scented chickpeas with fresh greens:

“Vegetarian World Food”

Kurma’s vegetarian cuisine continues to attract food-lovers from all cultures with its exotic flavours, delicate spices, superb nutrition and positively addictive taste. This international selection features:

Pan-seared Chili- and Tamari-glazed Fresh Panir Cheese Steaks served with BBQ Asparagus on a bed of Sweet Potato Mash with Rocket Salad,

Soft, Cashew-studded Steamed Semolina Breads (Rawa Idli) served with Hot-and-sour Toor Dal (Sambar) & Fresh Coconut Chutney,

Moghul-inspired Saffron Spicy Rice served with Saudi Baharat-scented Chickpeas & Mixed Greens (Hoummos bi Sabanik),

Creamy Cardamom- and Rose-infused Condensed Yogurt Dessert
with Pistachios and Saffron Syrup (Shrikhand).

saffron shrikand:

All details and booking here.


21,000 days

baby Kurma 1953:

That’s how long I have spent living in this body.

dehino ‘smin yatha dehe

kaumaram yauvanam jara

tatha dehantara-praptir

dhiras tatra na muhyati

“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change” – Bhagavad-gita 2.13

What's for Dinner, Kurma?

mee goreng:

Made Mee Goreng last night, and it looked so good that I just had to take a photo, for posterity. And yes, it definitely is vegetarian.

The recipe is in Great Vegetarian Dishes, my first cookbook, that is now enjoying its 20th year in print. Happy birthday GVD!

Kurma in Bunbury

cooking in Bunbury:

All places in my upcoming Cookery Tour of Western Australia are sold out, with wait-lists. Except…my double header in beautiful Bunbury. That’s the Bunbury kitchen above, and some of what we cooked there last time, below.

big pots of bliss:

So for all those disappointed punters – travel down to Bunbury, and catch me there!

Here’s the details:

Aspenz Cooking School,

42 Wellington Street, Bunbury, Western Australia,

Two Evening Workshops,

Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14 July,

Bookings 08 9721 7400,

Contact aspenzk@westnet.com.au

Book now!

Finding Love in Lilydale

My Tasmania Weekend is over, and here’s my promised report. Day one began, like all days do, with sunrise. This one was a welcome appearance after a zero-degree night.

sun's up over Lilydale:

The view from my window was a beautiful sight. Fresh jonquils (narcissus, my favourite flowers) bloomed and filled the air with a delicious fragrance.


Creatures big and small awoke from their slumber, including the local ducks and geese, and my son Nitai who accompanied me on the trip as my assistant.

view from my window:

Lesley and John Gallagher, avowed vegetarians, with their daughter Jasmine, run Cherry Top and Eagle Farm as the home of L.O.V.E. (Lilydale Organic Vegetable Enterprises). They grow organic fruit and vegies for a small local customer base who collect their love boxes every week. That’s Lesley, below, far right, at the onset of our first cookery class, on day one.

Saturday in Tassie:

Lesley and I spent many months co-ordinating the ‘Winter Spice Retreat’ at Eagle Farm, and finally the weekend was upon us. Cherry Top and Eagle Farm sit in the lovely rolling hills near the village of Lilydale, about 45 minutes from Launceston, near the northern part of Tasmania.

Sean and Nadia:

Sean and Nadia drove from Launceston for the weekend. They helped pick some lovely fresh vegetables, still drenched with morning dew, for our first day of cooking.

pink carrot:

Pink carrots were just one of a number of ingredients I hadn’t used before, including some lovely fresh herbs, notably rocket flowers and borage flowers.


Phil cuts some freshly harvested coriander greens as the beautiful pastureland, replete with grazing horses, lights up with the full rays of the morning sun.

We cut, we chatted and cooked our way to a delightful late lunch of Sweet & Sour Mung Dal Soup with Pumpkin, Zesty Lemon Rice with Fresh Coconut, Coriander & Cashews, Succulent Tomato, Peas and Home-made Curd Cheese (Matar Panir) ,
Dry-roasted Crispbreads (Pappadams) , Fresh herb-laced Garden Salad,
Battered Crispy Fritters of Cauliflower, Eggplant & Sweet Potatoes (Pakoras) ,
and Hot & Spicy Apple Chutney.

Dessert was a magnificent Saffron-infused Semolina Halava Pudding with Almonds, Walnuts & Raisins, and an invigorating Hot Spiced Rooibos Tea (Masala Chai) .

Sunday Dinner in Tassie:

The weekend ended with another class, bristling with song and kitchen camaraderie, culminating in a wonderful candlelit banquet, where we enjoyed more jolly talk, and feasted on Fragrant South Indian Hot & Sour Toor Dal Soup (Rasam) , Basmati Rice with Cashews, Peas & Fresh Coriander (Pulao), Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Supreme (Gobi Alu Bhaji) , North Indian Puffed Fried Breads (Poories) , Hot, Sweet, Spicy & Sour Eggplant Pickles, and
yet another Fresh herb-laced Garden Salad.

Finally, out came the Traditional Karnataka Carrot Halava
and another welcome mug of cardamom- and cassia-laced Hot Spiced Tea (Masala Chai). And so it all came to an end, as quickly as it had begun. Farewell Tasmania, until next time.

Oh, and remember, if you’d like to experience the delights of a day or night of cookery camaraderie and feasting in your home, I’m available.


Mr Einstein:

“There are only two truly infinite things, the universe and stupidity. And I
am unsure about the universe.”
Albert Einstein