Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry by Belinda Manfo - 5 Amazing Cheap Recipes From Pro Chefs to Sustain in Lockdown

This piece was written by our Community Ambassador, Food publisher, writer and advocate Riaz Phillips. You can find out more about Riaz here

At the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown when news began to trickle out that the communities that were being negatively impacted the most were the ones closest to me, I wanted to do something positive that helped those in need and at the same time shone a positive light on underrepresented food cultures in the UK.

The result was Community Comfort, an incredible array of recipes inspired by a global palette of cuisines. The following recipes are a handful that I have picked due to their ease to make, relatively cheap ingredients and for how long each cook can last especially given these winter days!

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry
Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry

Recipe Five
Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry by Belinda Manfo

Veganism is at the heart of everything Belinda does. This includes her street food business Marli’s Kitchen or her vegan “meat” food service. This dish comes from her Ghanaian upbringing. This meal is something Belinda concocted as a way to transport herself to sunnier shores. The recipe requires three cans, which we’ll usually have in the cupboard, some veg and some spices and that’s it! If you don’t have all the spices or veg don’t worry and feel free to freestyle.


  1. Wash your rice, rinse and set aside.
  2. Begin by peeling and chopping the onions and garlic. Chop the top off the pepper. Slice open and remove the white pith and seeds before chopping the remaining skin. (Or, if you like a hot curry don’t remove the seeds).
  3. Wash, peel and dice the potato to about 2-3cm in size. Don’t dice them too small or they will devolve in the heat of the curry.
  4. In a medium sized sauce add rice with water at a 2:1 ratio, boiling at a high heat. Once boiling, turn heat down to a low, put on the lid and let simmer for 10 mins.
  5. Check on the rice. Stir to ensure no sticking and once the water gets absorbed remove from heat and let rest.
  6. In a separate large pan, add two tbsp of oil to heat on medium. Add the chopped onions and stir.
  7. After this, add in the ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric and paprika. If spices start to stick to the pan then add boiled hot water to loosen.
  8. Add pepper and cook down until soft (about 5 mins.) This is an important step as it helps release the flavour of the spice and peppers.
  9. Add in chopped garlic and stir for about 30 seconds before adding in the diced potatoes.
  10. Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas. Add and keep stirring the mixture so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Cover for 5 mins.
  11. Add in chopped tomatoes and keep stirring. Mix the stock with hot water and add it to the pan.
  12. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then turn down to low and let simmer. Add salt and pepper then cover for 20 minutes.
  13. Add in coconut milk, stir and cover and let simmer again for 5 – 10 minutes.


Serves five (Vegan)

1 can Chopped tomatoes (400ml)
1 can Chickpeas (400ml)
1 can Coconut milk (400ml)
5 Garlic cloves
1 Onion
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, chopped and de-seeded
Stock cube
500g Potatoes (or equal sweet potato 180g white rice)
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Ginger
2 tsp Ground coriander
2 tsp Ground cumin


1 Spring onion 
1 Scotch bonnet pepper (small) 
Chop pepper, (remove pith and seeds.) 

Garnish with chopped spring onion.

With food poverty unfortunately on the rise, at the moment, it’s very understandable that affordability is a shifting scale given the uncertainty of COVID-19. Spark & Co has a host of resources for financial support including a variety of food banks and monetary aides that are searchable by gender, age, region location and Ethnic background or race.

5 Amazing Cheap Recipes from Pro Chefs to Sustain you in Lockdown