Kerala Mixed vegetable stew- for JFI Coconut
I have my fair set of resolutions ready for the brand new year, nothing too ambitious, just simple plans, no froufrou. Along with other targeted self improvements, I will roll out chapattis thinner and will try to make idlis from scratch again in 2007. But no matter what ever I do, I cannot let this year go off without THANKING ALL OF YOU, for the unconditional support and encouragement you have been giving to this blog. Thank you.
We wish you all a very happy new year !
Food for thought is one of my favorite blogs, and to make things even better Ashwini, the immensely creative writer of that blog cracked a coconut for this month’s JFI ! Thank you, I am going nuts already. My home state in India, looks like a coconut tree forest from above, there is no wonder that along with air, water, light and rice I consider coconut as one of the prime life sustaining forces! Oh, yes I am indeed exaggerating, but my pantry is always well stocked up with cans of coconut milk, dried coconut flakes, and frozen grated coconut. Yet, picking a recipe for JFI-coconut was not very easy; too many choices can be too much on your brain sometimes. Right from the mundane to the festive, it is really hard to think of a traditional Kerala recipe without that obvious hint of coconut. But there are certain recipes which underscore the taste of coconut itself, using a fresh coconut in such a recipe can be extremely rewarding. Kerala style stew is a celebration of the finest spices and ingredients abundant in that piece of land, freshly squeezed coconut milk, dashes of fresh ground black pepper, crushed cardamom seeds and curry leaves blend together so well creating a stew with a characteristic dulcet aroma too complex to even describe. This stew’s best companion is appam , but you can enjoy it with rotis or breads. Whatever you decide to do with your bowl of stew, do take a moment to enjoy the delicate scent of this dish.
Potatoes diced into cubes – 2 cups
Carrots cubed – 1 cup
Green beans cut into 1 cm length – ½ cup
Onions, cut square shaped pieces – 1 cup
Ginger chopped – 1 tbsp
Garlic minced – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Cloves – 3
Star anise – ½
Green chilly split lengthwise– 1
Black pepper, freshly ground – ½ to 1 tsp
Cardamom – 3-4 pods
Curry leaves – a sprig + 2-3 leaves
Oil (preferably coconut) – 1 1/2 + ½ tsp
Coconut milk (freshly squeezed or canned) – 1 ½ cups
Salt – to taste
Water -11/2 cup
Steam (~ for 5 minutes) or microwave (Mix with a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt) green beans and carrots till tender. Heat 1 1/2 tsp oil in a thick bottomed pan, add cinnamon stick, one crushed pod of cardamom, star anise and cloves and fry for half a minute. Add onions, ginger, garlic, green chilly and a sprig of curry leaves, sauté with a pinch of salt till the onions are translucent. Add diced potatoes, mix well and pour in 11/2 cup of water and ½ cup of coconut milk. Cook covered in medium heat till the potato pieces are tender. Open the lid, add steamed vegetables, and stir in a cup of coconut milk. Sprinkle with remaining crushed cardamom and ground black pepper. Cook covered for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat. In a small bowl coat curry leaves with ½ tsp coconut oil, and slightly crush it with hand. Add it to the cooked stew, and keep the lid on for 5 more minutes. Open the lid, mix the stew and serve hot with appam, or bread.
* Green peas, cauliflower and other vegetables of your choice can be added to this stew.