Indian Vegetable Stew


Nutrient-dense winter root vegetables feature in this Indian-inspired stew. Slow cooking extracts the flavors of the vegetables that combine with evocative far-east spices and the rich, buttery mixture of cashews and tahini to create an exotic dish. Serve with brown basmati rice, fragrant jasmine rice, couscous, millet or quinoa.


2 tablespoons mustard oil* or vegetable oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon jalapeñ
o pepper
4 tablespoons tahini
6 tablespoons ground cashews (grind nuts in blender or food processor)
2 1/4 cups water, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cilantro, minced
2 cups red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 large potatoes)
2 cups sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets (about half of a medium head)
2 cups Japanese eggplant, unpeeled,  cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups turnips or kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cored, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
Toasted cashews, garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, garnish
Garam masala, if desired

Dollop of yogurt, if desired

*Available at Indian markets


In a large stockpot heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and gingerroot and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes, or until onion is beginning to become translucent. Add turmeric and cumin to mixture and combine thoroughly. Add drained tomatoes, jalapeño, tahini, ground cashews, 2 cups water, and salt and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 8-10 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to break down. With the back of a fork, mash any chunks of tomatoes left and blend into sauce.

Add cilantro, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauiliflower, eggplant, turnips (or kohlrabi), and red bell pepper. Turn down heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, gently stirring once or twice. Add a little more water, if necessary. Cook until vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you enjoy a spicier flavor, you can add a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes.

Remove from heat and serve with cooked whole grains or brown rice. Garnish with toasted cashews and cilantro leaves. Dust lightly with garam masala, if desired.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with salad of baby greens tossed with lime tamarind dressing.

NOTE: This recipe is very versatile. I’ve used pumpkin and winter squash in place of eggplant, Yukon potatoes or purple fingerlings instead of red potatoes, rutabagas instead of turnips. Use your imagination and use vegetables in season at the farmers market. Keep the vegetable cubes and sizes consistent to allow for even cooking.

SOURCE: Recipe adapted from The Bold Vegetarian, by Bharti Kirchner.

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