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Sweet Potatoes Poached in Coconut Milk with Naan

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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Why we love it:

I used to have a meal delivery service and cooked in a large shared kitchen. A woman sharing the space made a dish very similar to this once and it was so simple and incredibly delicious, I’ve made it again and again. I don’t remember her so I can’t ask where this came from! I know she told me she was recently traveling and learned to make this meal - I’m pretty sure it had a name, and I’m about 80% confident I’m not forgetting any ingredients. I’ve never been able to find it online! If you have any leads for this delicious, warming, simple meal please let me know!


  • 112 cups Jasmine Rice (White)
  • 212 cups Water
  • 112 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 teaspoon Unsalted Butter
  • 2 pounds Garnet Yam (the really orange-red sweet potatoes)
  • 2 15-ounce cans Coconut Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 2 Limes (zest and juice, divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • Naan (4 pieces - or similar flatbread)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. RICE

    Place rice and the water in a small pot with a fitting lid. Add about ⅔ of the total salt here (about 1 teaspoon salt for every 1.5 cups of rice). Bring to a boil over high heat, then stir well. Place the lid on and turn the heat down to low. Simmer, untouched, for about 19 minutes. Then open and fluff the rice, remove from the heat and partially cover until ready to serve.

  • 2. ONION

    Halve and peel the red onion. Slice into thin strips, julienne (like a half moon shape but sliced in the opposite direction, with the grain). In a medium sized pot with tall sides, melt the butter over medium heat then add the onion. Cook, stirring often for about 5 - 6 minutes until the onion is fragrant and becoming translucent but not picking up any color.

  • 3. YAMS

    Meanwhile, prep the yams. For almost every dish, I leave the skin on, but for this one they do need to be peeled - you can save the peels for stock!

    After peeling, slice into thin rounds, about ¼-⅓” thick. It’s ok that the diameter will change as you go but try and keep the thickness as even as possible.

    When they’re done, add them into the pot with the onions.

  • 4. LIQUID

    To the pot, add the coconut milk, the fish sauce (if unsure, start with half for now you can add more later), brown sugar, zest and juice of one of the limes. Add about ¼ cup of water as well. Add the remaining salt (about ½ teaspoon). Bring to a simmer and stir well.

    Turn down the heat to maintain a simmer but don’t let it boil so much that it’s making large bubbles. You can partially cover the pan during this time. Stir every 5 minutes or so and cook until the yams are tender but not falling apart - about 15 17 minutes.

  • 5. NAAN

    Heat the naan in a toaster oven or oven, or over a gas flame until warm.

  • 6. SERVING

    Taste the broth and you may decide to add to another pinch of salt, sugar, fish sauce, or more lime to balance it out.

    Serve big scoops of rice and top with the potatoes and broth. Serve with slices of lime on each bowl and wedges of naan.

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    if you don’t do fish sauce either look for vegan Annie’s fish sauce or use tamari or soy sauce
    a “regular” pale sweet potato
    also love this dish over short grain brown rice or quinoa

Kid Friendly Version

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • If they won’t eat the mash, you could roast sweet potato fries at 425 tossed with oil and salt until crispy and soft inside and make fries
  • Add a salad or steamed green vegetables like green beans or edamame

For Toddlers

  • Mash and smash some of the yams and coconut milk

For Choosy Eaters

  • Kids may like the yams if they’re pulled out of the sauce and mashed. Consider adding a drizzle or honey or cinnamon to make a kid favorite flavor
  • Serve with a steamed vegetable, or sliced raw vegetable
  • Offer the naan or a dinner roll or toast

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. This dish is best when it’s just finished cooking, the sauce has a silky quality that changes after refrigerating it. If you do reheat, do it in a pot over low heat
  2. You could serve this over rice or with a salad if more is desired
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