Cocoyam (Taro) and Sweet Potato Curry Recipe from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen

From Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen: An Introduction to New African Cuisine—from Ghana with Love by Zoe Adjonyoh

Zoe Adjonyoh

New African Cuisine is by now (2021) the understood shorthand for a new wave of African gastronomy steadily gaining recognition from the global food community. The phrase can be used to describe many of the recipes contained in these pages.

I want to push all cooks and arbiters of taste in this world to see and use the beauty of West Africa’s varied and enriching ingredients and flavours in inventive new ways while supporting Black owned farming and agriculture, particularly on the continent itself.

The point of this book is not to give a definitive guide to Ghanaian cuisine but to highlight Ghana’s great ingredients and flavours, and–most importantly–to make that food accessible and highlight how to incorporate those ingredients easily into everyday dishes.

*This recipe makes a lovely, simple, nutritious and flavourful vegetable ‘curry’. The nutty subtle sweetness of dwarf cocoyam (taro) balances the overtly bold ripe sweetness of the sweet potato.

Cocoyam (Taro) & Sweet Potato Curry

1–2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced


canola oil, for drizzling and frying

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 bay leaves, torn

500g (1lb 2oz) cocoyams (taro), peeled and diced

1 red onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

5 cm (2-inch) piece fresh root ginger, grated (unpeeled if organic)

2 teaspoons cornstarch

 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon ground calabash nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2–3 mild green chilies, such as unripe Anaheim peppers

200ml (7fl oz) coconut milk, or almond milk

250–300ml (9–10fl oz) good-quality vegetable stock

Cocoyam Sweet Potato Curry

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Spread the diced sweet potatoes out on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil, season with sea salt and black pepper and scatter with the torn bay leaves. Roast for 15–20 minutes until soft and slightly crisp at the edges (if you want to add some extra zing here use 1/2 teaspoon suya spice seasoning to marinate!).

In a pan of lightly salted boiling water, par-boil the diced cocoyam (taro) for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a little more oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan, add the onion and sauté gently for a few minutes until it turns golden. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes. Sift in the cornstarch, then add the spices and chilies and stir well. De-glaze with a little stock.

Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously to avoid lumps forming. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for 5–10 minutes.

Add the drained par-boiled cocoyam and then gradually stir in the vegetable stock until you have the consistency you want. Simmer for a further 25–30 minutes or until the cocoyam (taro) is really tender (fork soft), stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.

Finally, stir in the roasted sweet potato a few minutes before serving, and serve with plain boiled rice. Garnish with some red sliced chilies (mature Anaheim, sliced diagonally) and fresh cilantro.

Excerpted from ZOE’S GHANA KITCHEN by Zoe Adjonyoh. Copyright © 2021. Available October 2021 from Voracious Books, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.