BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Sweet Potato-Spinach Praram

This morning, my friend Josh, a fellow telecommuting-home-office-San-Franciscan, managed to officially annoy his roommate by working from home for the umpteenth day in a row and she kindly suggested he get the hell out. Fortunately, he remembered my tipsy-but-genuine offer at a party we both attended about a month ago that he come over some time for a work date/lunch in my kitchen and called me to see if it still stood. As I am a woman of my word (even if I’ve had three glasses of wine before speaking), I happily obliged and invited him over.

He casually mentioned an interest in Thai food and so, while he worked in the living room giving soothing tech support to frazzled information technologists in Kansas via Skype, I worked on recreating my favorite Thai dish, Spinach Praram (essentially spinach with peanut sauce). I added healthy sweet potatoes to bulk it up and firm tofu for protein and then we lunched on the spicy, filling and very inexpensive result.

Feel free to switch the tofu out for chicken or prawns and/or the noodles for steamed white or brown rice. Also, I love to spice it up with a drizzle of Sriracha.

  • ingredients
  • 8 oz. rice noodles (thick or thin) $1.50 for 14 oz.
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil Pantry
  • 1 onion, diced $0.50
  • 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and cut int 1” chunks $1
  • 8 oz. firm tofu, cubed $1.50 for 14 oz.
  • salt Pantry
  • 12 cups (1 9-oz. bag) baby spinach $2
  • 1 recipe Basic Peanut Sauce $7
Total Cost of Ingredients $13.50


Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and return to pot with a little water to keep them from sticking. Keep warm over a very low flame.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, until very fragrant. Add the sweet potato and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add 1 cup water to the pan, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until water is absorbed and the sweet potato is tender.

Increase heat to medium and add the tofu. Cook just until hot and season lightly with salt.

Add the spinach to the pan and cook, moving around with tongs to encourage wilting.

Once spinach has wilted, pour peanut sauce over the contents of the pan. It will be very saucy. Stir gently using tongs.

Serve the praram hot over the noodles. Garnish with cilantro or jalapeño slices.

Serves 2-3.

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Jane, on Dec 13, 05:42 PM, wrote:

This recipe is tasty, but I think there are a few things a bit off. First, it took waaay longer than 5-7 minutes once I added the cup of water for the water to absorb and the potatoes to cook. More like 12-15 minutes. Then, I only used about half the amount of spinach (it was an accident – I just bought a smaller container) but I thought that it was a perfect amount and couldn’t imagine what the full amount would’ve been like! It turned out just fine, but I definitely had to have a little more patience than I originally anticipated.

Wendy, on Feb 25, 06:39 AM, wrote:

This was really good with a lot of cilantro and lime juice added at the end, along with a few pickled jalapenos. I didn’t pour the peanut sauce over the whole dish, I kept that separate so we could each add as much or as little as we wanted.

It doesn’t warm up well the next day, so next time I will cook just enough for one meal, with no leftovers. I wasn’t paying attention to the time, and overcooked my sweet potatoes, so they were mushy. DH thought it needed water chestnuts or something for crunch (carrots would be good, but he didn’t want more orange color), but I think that if I’d just cooked the sweet potatoes correctly, it wouldn’t necessarily need extra bite. (Extra firm tofu might not be a bad idea.)

I think next time I will break the rice noodles into small pieces before cooking – I know it’s not traditional, but I had difficulty getting just the right amount of noodles in each bite.I didn’t cook the noodles ahead of time, I started the noodle water cooking about the same time I added water to the praram, and it worked our perfectly. (Also, will open the noodles over the sink next time, because I opened the package over the stove to add them to the water, and noodle pieces went everywhere; some fell into the praram while others landed on the hot stove and burned before I could get them cleaned up.) Will definitely make this again, though. Thanks for the recipe!