Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Kerala Vegetable Strew

From Healthy Asian Vegetarian Dishes, Periplus Editions, 2003.
I am still cooking for myself so making dishes that last for at least a couple of days. I have had the ribollita, an Italian rich thick vegetable soup, so now I thought I would go for a spicy Asian stew.

The first task was to make a spicy paste. A tablespoon channa dal (split chickpeas) and a tablespoon urad dal (black lentils) were cooked in a tablespoon of heated olive oil until they began to brown. Now I added a chopped green chilli, 5 sliced garlic cloves, a tablespoon cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon turmeric and a good handful of desiccated coconut. These were all sautéed until the coconut had become a golden colour. The mixture was let cool, then placed in a blender with ½ cup water and zapped until it had become a thick puree.

Into a large saucepan now went about a cup of sliced cabbage, a sliced carrot, a cup of cauliflower broken into small pieces, ½ cup of green beans cut into sections, ½ cup peas and a teaspoon salt. A cup of water was added as well as the pureed spice mix. The vegetables were cooked for about 15 minutes.
When the cooking time was nearly up a tablespoon of ghee was melted in a pan and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds and ½ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds were added with about 6 curry leaves. When the mustard seeds started popping the mixture was poured into the vegetables  which were simmered for another few minutes.
I should have eaten this with rice but settled for slices of toasted sourdough bread which went well with it, though not as well as rice would have.
This served me for an enjoyable two meals. I do enjoy spicy foods and this was really well flavoured with spices, perhaps overpowering the flavour of the vegetables a little.
Taste: ✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔


  1. Hi Alf. Just stumbled upon your blog and I've had a good time reading some of the reviews. It's always nice to hear what has gone well (or badly) trying out a new recipe. Useful photos and succinct reviews; thank you very much for posting your results.

    Is there any where to see a list of the books you've used, possibly even search for recipes by cookbook? Have any of the books you are cooking from been standouts?


    1. Hi Polly, Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated.

      Here's my most favoured cookbooks at the moment:
      Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press). This would be my top book I think.
      Thai Vegetarian Cooking by Vatcharin Bhumichitr (Pavilion). The Thai recipes here seem to work better than from any other Thai vegetarian cookbook.
      Terre à Terre by Amanda Powley (Absolute Press). The recipes here always pack a punch and if you want to really spend some time trying different techniques this is one to use.
      Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville (Bantam Books). Great recipes.
      The Accidental Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer (Mitchell Beazley). Vegetarian recipes from a non-vegetarian so they need to appeal to meat eaters.
      The Country Cookbook by Belinda Jeffery (Lantern). Not a vegetarian cookbook but there's heaps of recipes that are and they always work. Very friendly writing style.