Stew Your Way

Having reached home late in the evening, sometimes it becomes difficult to decide on the “what to cook” part. When things don’t go as planned, we search for alternatives. But without agreeing to “order food” from outside, we may find the solutions at home itself.

There is no dearth of options when it comes to making sandwiches. Yes, just to be on the safer side, ensure that the fridge is stored with at least the basic vegetables. If eggs are there we stay worry free.

At one such time, I discovered that a vegetarian ‘stew’ can be a great option. A few potatoes and onions sautéed in oil are cooked in coconut milk with nothing but ginger cut to julianne, green chilies, salt and a sprinkle of pepper to taste. A tadka (incidentally ‘tempering’ is the suggested translation of the Hindi word) of mustard seeds and fresh curry leaves makes it perfect.

Since, I don’t have the habit of stocking coconut milk or coconut milk powder; my vegetables are cooked in water, and mixed with plain milk. The well mashed potatoes make the gravy thick and I find bread or buns to accompany it.

A pressure cooker does the job well. Microwaves also help to quicken the process.

In fact, stew is one of the most relished dishes in Kerala. Often, it is served as a side dish along with delicious aapams (made from a fermented batter of rice and coconut). An assortment of vegetables and garam masala (Indian spices) is a variation. An addition of poultry or meat to the onions and potatoes with masalas (Indian spices) and other condiments is yet another variety within the stew.

Interestingly, stew has a universal appeal. The method, preparation time and ingredients vary but, stew is a rather fulfilling accomplishment world over. And it has been regarded as “”comfort” foods, everyday dishes served to family or close friends in an intimate setting.”

What more can one ask for if a simple stew, cooked in less than 15 minutes and served hot in the comfort of the home. I relax to enjoy the complete meal.

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