Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Recipe of the month: Mixed Vegetable Stew

There are recipes and then there are recipes that stick with you for life. My policy has always been to feature only those recipes on my blog that I deem worthy enough for sharing. There are of course dishes on my blog that I've made only once despite being good. This could be attributed to a laborious procedure, lack of ingredients or sometimes even plain forgetfulness! I do have a select few recipes that are my go-to recipes and these are recipes that I have depended on time and again to get me through dinner parties, potlucks or even routine meals at home. As and when I come across an awesome and fool-proof recipe, I prudently add it to my treasure trove of favourite recipes. One of my dear friends gifted me a lovely recipe journal last Christmas and I have just started filling it up. I have a very stringent selection criteria for which recipes go into it because my vision is to preserve this precious journal for posterity

This mixed vegetable stew (also known as mixed vegetable kurma) is one recipe that will go into my journal for sure. This was a recipe that I had jotted down eons ago in a flimsy notepad. I have made it several times over the years and I can honestly say that it works for me every time. I make it for appam, neer dosa, rava dosa, ragi dosa, poori and even for rotis. It does involve some prep work (considering it has quite a few veggies in it) but the outcome is worth all the effort. The aromatic whole spices perfume the stew, the addition of almonds imparts a richness and the coconut milk adds that dash of sweetness. The vegetables aren't overpowered by the subtle gravy and they retain their natural flavour, remaining tender yet crisp in texture. The addition of turmeric gives that subtle yellow colour but if you don't want to infuse colour into the stew, you can skip the turmeric. 

I prepared this dish while I was in my in-laws home in Bangalore during my last visit to India this February. I had made this dish for them while they were visiting me in Singapore last year and they had liked it (I think!). A few other people for whom I have made this dish had also been asking me for the recipe so I thought I would draft a post and keep it ready. My atthe (MIL) had made neer dosa for breakfast that morning and this delicately flavoured stew made a perfect accompaniment to the dosa. I finished the cooking, photography, structuring the post and formatting within a record 2 hours. I find photographing for my blog so much easier in India. With an expansive garden and terrace, I don't find any issues with space or natural lighting like how I do in a cramped apartment setting while I am in Singapore. Oh well! 

Anyway, here is the recipe. Try it and I promise you that you will like it! I don't have the step-by-step photos for this recipe but the steps are easy to follow so you wouldn't miss it.

Mixed Vegetable Stew/ Mixed Vegetable Kurma

Preparation time: 20 min
Cooking time: 25 min
Serves: 4-5
Recipe level: Easy


1 tsp mustard seeds
6-8 curry leaves
1 large or 2 medium red onions, chopped
1 green chilli, slit vertically
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp coriander/dhania power
1/2 tsp red chilli powder, Optional
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 medium sized carrot, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1 inch sticks
1 small potato, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1 inch sticks
6 french beans, cut lengthwise into 1 inch sticks
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
1/4 cup fresh/frozen peas
1/2 cup thick coconut milk (I use the store-bought variety)
1 large or 2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
3 tbsp oil/ghee

Whole spices: 
1/2 inch-piece cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamom pods and 2 cloves, pounded finely

For the ground paste:
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
2-4 green chillies (depending on your spice level)
10 almonds


1. Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pot. Add the pounded whole spices, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Fry till the spices and mustard seeds start to sizzle and the curry leaves start to change colour. 
2. Add the chopped red onions, ginger-garlic paste and one vertically slit green chilli Fry until the onions turn translucent. 
3. Add the coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and sauté for a few seconds. Take care to see that the spice powders don't burn (you can add a few drops of water to prevent this). 
4. Add the french beans and carrot and fry on medium to high heat for 3-4 mins. Next add the potatoes and fry again for a few mins. Finally, add the cauliflower florets and peas and cook till all the veggies are tender yet crisp. 
5. Add the ground paste of grated fresh coconut, green chillies and almonds. Add salt to taste and sugar. 
6. If desired, you can add a few more curry leaves at this stage. Add the chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup coconut milk and enough water to achieve the desired consistency for the stew. Simmer on low for 2-5 mins. Check the taste and adjust the seasoning if required. 
7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. 
8. Serve hot with appam, idiyappam/shavige, neer dosa, rava dosa, rava idli, poori or chapati/roti.

  • Do not add too much water while making the ground paste. The consistency of the ground paste should be like coconut chutney
  • If you are hard pressed for time, you can either microwave the vegetables for a few min before stir-frying them or else as a last resort, use frozen vegetables. Take care to not overcook the veggies otherwise they will go mushy
  • If you are using frozen peas, thaw it and add it at the stage that you add the tomatoes and coconut milk


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