Yes you can vadouvan
EC: Spicy Sweet Potato Straws Are Ridiculously Good
Credit: Photo by Kat Kinsman

Hard truth: Most breakfast potatoes are kinda disappointing. It's better than having no potatoes at all, but far too often, they're just filler. Harder truth: Most sweet potato home fries, tots, and hashes are just bull. It's a rare breakfast sweet potato that makes you not slightly mournful for the breakfast potatoes that could have been. Sweet potatoes are simply glorious roasted, baked, mashed, or baked into a pie or casserole, and they pack plenty of health benefits that standard potatoes lack. But when they're pulling breakfast duty, they're almost inevitably too mushy, cloying, and rarely quite what you want. That stops now.

In the search for new ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into my diet that aren't just sliced, roasted, and brushed with butter and/or maple syrup, I turned to my spiralizer (yeah, I'm still using that thing). I'm a texture freak to the core, but I'm also a realist who accepts that she shouldn't play with sharp knives or a mandoline before being properly fed and caffeinated. But with a spiralizer, I can swiftly crank out slender sweet potato straws without much need for coordination or grace, and they'll cook pretty quickly, too. Huzzah—but not so much with the tater innovation.

That comes in the form of a light dusting of vadouvan: a French-ish Southern Indian curry powder that varies in composition, but generally consists of toasted and ground shallots, onions, fenugreek, curry leaves, garlic, cumin, and mustard seeds in addition to the spicemaker's whims. It adds a super-savory, slightly spicy, and thoroughly gorgeous topnote to pretty much any dish, but proves to be an ideal counterpoint to sweet potatoes', well, sweetness. Gooooood morning!

The sweet potato straws crisp up like a dream on a sheet tray in a 375°F oven (and if you don't have a spiralizer or mandoline, swipe the sweet potato across a grater, the finer the better). Just toss them with a little oil (I dig olive or avocado), sprinkle with vadouvan and salt, and futz at them with tongs or a spatula every 7 minutes or so until most of them have browned—about 25-30 minutes. Take them out of the oven, taste for seasoning, and let them sit for a few minutes to firm up and enjoy the breakfast sweet potatoes that you will be eating from now into eternity. Even cold the next day, straight from the container of leftovers, if there are any leftovers. Not that I'd know this from experience*.

Note: If you don't have a shaker of vadouvan in your current arsenal, check your local bulk spice vendor, international grocer, or online at vendors like Sahadi's and Kalustyan's. You might also try your hand at making your own vadouvan at home with this recipe from Epicurious.

*I know this from experience.