spicy peanut & vegetable stew with ginger

Happy new year, I hope 2017 is full of good things for us all. I always see the new year as an opportunity for a bit of a stock take as well as a time to try to make new habits and maybe break some old ones. This January I’ve decided that I want to cook more vegan food. It’s not for any reason other than wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone and to see what new recipes I find and enjoy.

This was one of the first new dishes I tried and I love it. The peanut in this stew (or you can make it as a soup) comes from peanut butter; I used the crunchy type which means there are little crunch bits of peanut as you eat. The vegetables suggested in the original recipe are aubergine and courgette but I also added a tin of cannellini beans.

Next time I would also double up the aubergine (and maybe the courgette but actually it was the aubergine that I really loved) and consider adding sweet potato or squash, perhaps in place of the beans or as well. I think there is a lot of flexibility, depending what you want to create. My dish also varied from the original by only using half the liquid (I wanted more of a thick stew, than a soup) and I also changed the final seasoning from lemon juice to a mix, adding lime juice as well.

If you try this and make different tweaks, let me know how you get on. Find my other vegan recipes here.

Spicy Peanut and Vegetable Stew With Ginger and Tomato* (serves 8*)

4 tablespoons oil – I used vegetable but think coconut oil would alse be good

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1-2 birds eye chilies, finely chopped

1-2 aubergine, peeled and cut into 2cm dice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon turmeric

⅛ teaspoon cayenne

1 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

500ml water, more if necessary

400g tin of chickpeas or cooked beans – I used cannellini beans

110g unsweetened peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1-2 courgettes, sliced 1cm half moons

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ a lime

A large handful of coarsely chopped coriander leaves

Cooked rice, for serving

Chopped roasted salted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

 In a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and fry, stirring often, until soft, crisp and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a bowl, leaving behind the oil. Increase the heat to high and add the aubergine. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the shallots.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and chilies and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds more. Add the onion and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, water, aubergine, shallots, chickpeas/beans and a sprinkling of salt. Bring to the boil and cook 5 minutes. Place the peanut butter in a bowl and stir in some of the hot soup until it is all mixed and becomes pourable, then add to the soup.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the courgette and extra liquid if you think it is needed. Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon and lime juice plus the chopped coriander. Let cool slightly and season to taste. Serve with rice, garnished with coriander leaves and chopped peanuts, if desired.

* based on a Julia Moskin recipe; I think the portion size is only eight if you increase the vegetable content or just have it as a relatively light soup.