Vegetable and Paneer Stew in Spiced Coconut Milk

vegetable & Paneer stew in coconut milk

This is another spur of the moment recipe. A few fistful of leftover vegetables, a can of coconut milk and a few spices are all that is needed to make a bowlful of this beautifully fragrant comforting stew.

We have had the mildest winter this year; the mildest and the most comfortable than I have ever encountered in the past 18 years. But then I have not been in Texas for the past 18 years. I thought I would miss the snow, but I do not. Taking a walk in the trails of the park in this pleasant 65F feels good; a wisp of fresh air, the bare tree branches stretching out to the sky – probably confused, wondering if they should already start to break into a bloom.

vegetable stew in coconut milk

Not that I have never made a vegetable stew before. But every time I make it, I do it a little differently. This one today bears faint traces of the flavors of the Chingri Maacher Malaikari from home. Ma would make vegetable stews; light, soupy with cumin and ginger in summer with the summer vegetables. However the stews in winter would be warm and fragrant with more spices and mostly simmered in milk. We never had stews with coconut milk.

vegetable stew in coconut milk

But as I was craving this shrimp curry all of a sudden when I have put myself up for a lighter diet, I thought of incorporating the spices and the process of that recipe in this vegetable stew.


A particular stew from Kerala, a southern state in India bears close similarity with this stew. I have never made the stew from Kerala, neither have I ever tried it. Certain parts of Africa cooks beans and vegetables in a very similar manner too, with spices and coconut milk. I would think that is a culinary influence from India, as the words and spices traveled across the borders many years back.

And then there are South Asian recipes of vegetables cooked in coconut milk. Different parts of the world, almost similar ingredients but very different tastes and flavors.. the magic of world cuisine!

vegetable stew in coconut milk

Vegetable and Paneer Stew in Spiced Coconut Milk

Ingredients: (serves 2-3 as a side)

  1. 2 carrots, sliced into 1 inch strips
  2. 8-10 green beans, sliced into 1-1.5 inch strips
  3. 2 zucchini/any squash – cubed
  4. 1/2 cup peas
  5. 1.5 cups cauliflower florets
  6. 1/2 cup cubed paneer (use tofu for a vegan version)
  7. 1.5 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  8. 2 tablespoon oil
  9. 2Β  (or more)Β  hot green chili pepper, slit do not skip this; the hot peppers impart a very fresh flavor. You can remove the membrane and the seeds if it is too spicy
  10. 2-3 green cardamom
  11. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  12. salt
  13. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  14. 2 teaspoon red chili powder (use more or less, adjust to taste) – I have used Kashmiri Red Chili Powder; contributes to the red color of the curry without much spice/heat
  15. 1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander powder
  16. 1 & 1/4 cup coconut milk
  17. 3/4 cup water (use more or less, adjust to the amount you would need your consistency of the stew)
  18. black pepper or red chili flakes to garnish
  19. any herb you want to use (I would recommend fresh cilantro or curry leaves or basil with this flavor combination)

Note: Any combination of vegetables or/and beans may be used for this recipe. Some beans or lentils would not hurth either.


NOTE: the color of the stew is entirely from the Kashmiri red chili powder I have used. If you are using any other chili powder or none, you will have a pale stew, whitish yellow in color. This does not change the taste or texture in any way.

Wash and prepare the vegetables.

If you are using store bought paneer: heat a cup of water (may be done in the microwave for 1.5 minutes) and add the paneer cubes to the hot water. Let them sit for about 5-10 minutes, before you use them for cooking. The store bought paneer is usually very stiffΒ  and soaking them in hot water softens them before use.

In a pan/pot add the cardamom and the cinnamon and dry roast them for a couple of minutes at low to medium heat. Watch carefully and do not let it burn. As soon as it gets fragrant, add the oil and allow it to heat up. Add the vegetables and the chili pepper when the oil heats up (you will see the spices sizzle); add salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric,Β  and the grated ginger. Toss well and cook for about 2-3 minutes at high heat, until the oil coats the vegetables and they start to slightly wilt.

Combine water, coconut milk, red chili powder, coriander powder and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and whisk it until all the spice powders are well combined.

Add paneer and the coconut milk to the pan and stir everything really well; cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender, but not mushy. Uncover and cook for another couple of minutes. You will see the oil float up on the top, almost forming a layer.

Garnish with pepper/chili flakes and herbs.

Serve hot with rice or some crusty bread.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes approximately
Serves: 2-3 as a side

vegetable  and paneer stew in coconut milk

Related Posts:

Roasted Vegetable Stew with Coconut Milk

Curried Potato and Cauliflower Stew with Toasted Peanuts

Shrimp Stew with Zucchini Tomato and Lentil

Curried Navy Bean Soup

Spinach and Potato Soup with Fried Garlic

Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

27 comments to Vegetable and Paneer Stew in Spiced Coconut Milk

  • Soma, this looks awesome. Just something on a cold day here. Thanks you so much! Can I use vegetable stock instead of the coconut milk? I know coconut milk is thicker and creamier.

    Hmmmm.. not sure if it will taste the same w/out the coconut mil. It will be like a regular “jhol” :D. Use the light coconut milk or in less amount; the sauce will have at least some feel to it.

  • Soma your pictures are stellar, great lighting’s. you made bit sad carrot also so beautiful! and soup just perfect for the cold days!

    Thank you Ananda! Yes those “sad” carrots and a few handful of veggies were what I found at a corner when I set to cook this night. Hence came the stew. Boosts me that you find it “beautiful”!

  • Love this stew! I tried paneer for the first time not too long ago. Delicious use of it in this stew.

  • Good LORD almighty. Waa-aaa-aaaaant.

  • Lovely pictures & a mouthwatering stew!

  • A wonderful stew and combo! Mouthwatering.



  • Its yummy. tempting me to try πŸ™‚

  • Deepa

    Simply mouthwatering pics of the stew. Looks so tempting.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  • Your version of spiced veg stew looks interesting Soma..Usually try the white version being the regular way.Nice variation.

  • you should try the stew from kerala , its totally worth it . i love your version, never seen paneer in coconut spiced milk

  • Simply Wow Stew…. !!! I love the warm flavor of coconut especially in winters it gives different aroma and full of nutrition too and colorful veggies add to the charm of this delicious stew. Cheers !

  • Gorgeous clicks Soma! Loving the lighting for the 1st one. Stew – a perfect dinner for the cold nights. It’s been raining cats and dogs here and I am going to fix stew with appam for dinner today.

  • I wish there were more Indian (and Indian-inspired) stews (a la Pho and Udon soups from other parts of Asia). On a cold day, there’s something so satisfying about a big bowl of soup.

  • i love the simplicity of this stew.. and such gorgeous clicks and composition.. love the first picture!

  • delicious looking side dish and flavours

  • Colorful…comforting bowl of recipe…..very toothsome…..

  • recipe added to my list of ‘must try’ as part of my eat more veg regime (he says having eaten half a pack of Oreos for lunch)

  • this looks lovely… beautiful flavours going on there esp love the paneer in it, like an indianized thai red curry. reading ur post has brought back warm memories of my time in houston… like u said the winters in texas are very pleasant without the frostbite snow usually carries πŸ™‚

  • paneer in coconut milk sounds so refreshing, never tried it before, and your pics are so inviting on this cold wintry nights

  • You know my love for malai curry and how much I love the combination of spice and coconut milk. The color is gorgeous and photos are lovely as always.

  • Soma, just beautiful, delicious stew, I’ll try it soon, no words for your clicks, you know I’m a fan of your clicks, sometimes I forget to check your recipe as I just look at your clicks..if you think can send it to my ongoing event…
    spotlight : winter vegetable
    link :

  • What a nice hearty stew, I could use some of this right as I’ve been feeling under the weather lately.

  • This looks so warm and delicious. Yum. Must make it.

  • This is our dinner tonight :). I just want a bowl of this stew right now!!! πŸ™‚

    So x

  • Hello Soma,
    I came across your blog today via a picture of one of your lovely recipes on Pinterest. So inspired I made this dish for our dinner tonight. I’m not the main cook in the house – but what I do love is Indian and Thai food and chucking it all in one pan! I’m also not very good at sticking to the ingredients and this time was no different – mainly because I didn’t have it to hand (This is where I often go wrong!). So, instead of cauliflower we had pak choy, spinach and fresh garlic leaves (the spinach went in near the end with the frozen peas!). We didn’t have any green chilli peppers so I used red, no chilli powder either so I used paprika and chilli flakes instead. Oh and tofu instead of paneer. But I stuck to the rest of it and in the right order and my word it became a delicious golden stew! I over did it a bit with the chilli flakes so it got a splash of single cream at the end. Our local shop has fantastic naan breads, so all in all it was a triumph. I impressed the other half enough to want me to bookmark your blog for future reference.
    Grating the ginger was a great idea, not done that before and we don’t use cups in the UK but I hate doing too much measuring so I was happy with a bit of guess work.
    Thank you so much for sharing your lovely recipes Soma! The photos are fantastic and make you want to cook/eat everything. I’m sure I’ll be back for more.

    It is the dear people like you who make my days so special πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for trying it and writing to me. It is comment like yours that keeps me going. Good recipes are born out of creativity and adaption and you have done exactly that! Glad you liked it πŸ™‚ xo

  • Love the pictures and specially the porcelain kadai. :)My mouth is watering. Love paneer in any form fashion.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

subscribe twitter icons


Find eCurry in: