Feeding a family usually comes down to trying to present as balanced a meal as possible and filling them up with the standard side dishes like mashed potatoes or green beans. Great stuff really, but we’re using words here like exotic, and fantasy, and romantic. Sides aren’t merely dinner foreplay or an also ran. Harsh to say, but quite often your meal depends on the side dishes you choose. No pressure there. They can soften a sharp or strong taste, or turn on taste buds to heighten a desired flavor. Pairing the main dish with the sides is like introducing friends. Shoot for the ones that bring out the best of each other and make the whole thing more complete. Or as R. B. might say “Mo’ bettah, ya?”
One of the early posts covers the basics of the biggies in side dishes -rice and noodles. Their variations are scattered throughout the recipes posted. You might want to check out Of Rice And Mein. Pretty basic, pretty easy and easily fits into any fantasy you create.
Cooking aboard ships usually means you get what grows where you are. Apart from rice, yams are “Numba One” and are almost literaly everywhere in South Pacific cooking. They make blending tastes and textures easy by gently softening a flavor then spreading it wide when they are whipped or mashed. Or if you prefer a different texture try roasted or fried. It’s like the flavors almost sitting atop the yam. After that spice taste hits your mouth, here comes the warm buttery yam itself. Either way they do a great job of filling the spot we usually fill with potatoes, only yams are tastier.
R. B. had a combo of Curried Yams and Mango Chutney that truly sets off fish dishes. You can find the full fantasy meal including the Mango Chutney recipe posted with
Meanwhile, here’s Curried Yams…
1 1⁄2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
1 1⁄2 lbs carrots peeled and cut into chunks
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon curry powder
1⁄2 cup mango chutney
salt and pepper
Cook potatoes and carrots in boiling water until tender, drain, reserve some cooking liquid.
In a small pan, melt butter.
Cook onion, garlic, and ginger until soft but not brown.
Add curry powder, and cook 1 minute more.
Puree potatoes and carrots using a food processor, or mash with potato masher.
Mix in curry mixture and chutney, if mixture is too thick, thin with reserved cooking liquid.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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