Having been not feeling so good for the past few days, I was yearning for some change of taste for my tasteless sensation in my mouth. That’s what flu does to you – steals your energy, enthusiam & the sensation of the taste buds too. I did not want to even look at anything overcooked, or too spicy. Something different (as if some else cooked for me, you know how everything tastes better when you don’t cook), light & warm yet healthy is exactly what I needed & exactly what I got.
This recipe is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Flavors of India. She has the recipe for a Lamb Stew which she describes as a popular stew which the Christians of Kerala, India eat at Easter & Christmas & all other Festive Occasions. While I was reading thru’ the recipe I found it similar to the stew my mom would make esp. during the chilly winter nights with mutton, more like an Irish Stew. However the unique thing about Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe is that the flavor is enriched with coconut milk & it is spiced up with hot green chillies.
What I have actually presented here is a synthesis of my mom’s & the recipe from Flavors of India, as well as a little of my tidbits…I have made a vegetarian version by using Tofu & added a lot more vegetables ( more of a refrigerator cleaning ..), used the coconut milk & to talk about adding my part – Roasted some vegetables & tempered the Stew before serving which did enhance the flavor a LOT.
To deviate a little bit here…
A Reminder that the last day of submission for HHDD #26 is March 23rd.
Now to the Recipe…Please do not get intimidated by the long list of ingredients, for most of them are a list of vegetables I have used.
- 1 Medium Onion chopped into big chunks
- 2 Carrots, Chopped
- 1 Potato, Peeled & chopped into 1″ pieces
- 2 Squashes, any kind- chopped into 1″ pieces ( I used zuchinni)
- 1 Bell Pepper/Capsicum- Any kind, cut in to squares
- 5-6 Spears of Asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
- 2 Medium Tomato, quartered
- 1/2 Cup beans, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 3/4 Cup Tofu, cut into 1″ Cubes
- 1″ Ginger, peeled & miched
- 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon Butter/Oil
- 2 Cloves
- 1″ Stick of Cinnamon
- 2 Small Green Cardamoms
- 1 Bay leaf
- A pinch of Turmeric
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
- 1/4 Cup Fresh or Frozen Shredded coconut
- 2 Hot Green Chillies (Increase or Decrease to suit your taste)
- 20 -25 Fresh Curry leaves ( you may choose to substitute this with any other herb, but the curry leaves lends the typical Flavor of this stew)
- 3 tablespoons Chana Dal (Split brown Chickpeas without the seedcoat)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seed
- Fresh Black Pepper
- water if required
Note: There is no rule to what vegetables that can be added here. Please pick your own veggies.
In a baking tray combine the carrots, Potatoes, Squash & the Bell Pepper. Drizzle with some oil (Preferably Olive Oil) & roast them at 375 Degree F for about 15 -20 minutes. They will slightly brown but need not be cooked through since they will get tender while cooking the stew. Roasting the vegetables gives it a different flavor & makes it sweeter.
Heat a soup pot. Add the cinnamon, cardamom & clove & dry roast at medium heat till aromatic.
Add 1 teaspoon of butter, and add the Hot Green Chillies, Bayleaf, Ginger & Onion & stir fry till the onions are translucent.
Add all the roasted veggies, except for the tomatoes, beans & the asparagus & stir at medium heat for about 5- 7 minutes.
Add Salt, Black Pepper, turmeric, half of the Curry leaves, Beans, Asparagus, Tomatoes, Milk, water & Tofu & cover & cook for sometime till the potatoes & carrots are tender. It should not take too long, as they were almost cooked while roasting them.
Uncover & add the Coconut & the Coconut Milk. Simmer for 2 minutes & switch off the heat.
(If you want your stew thicker, mash a few potatoes in the stew with the back of the spoon)
Heat 1 Tablespoon of Butter/Oil. Add the Chana dal/Split chickpeas & stir till they are light brown. Add the mustard seeds.
Switch off the heat when they splutter & Immediately add the rest of the curry leaves.
Pour this over right away on the cooked stew. Gently stir it in.
Garnish with more Fresh Black Peppers if you want. Serve warm with Fresh Bread or crackers. Here is one bowlful of hearty, warm & delicious stew.
This was a stew with very Unique flavors & taste. It was light yet very fulfilling… the taste was a balance of little sweet from the coconut & the coconut milk, added to the heat of hot Green Chillies & the spices. What I loved most about it was my addition of the tempering with the lentils, which gave that healthy crunchy bite of an otherwise missing croutons:-)