I celebrated Save-the-Vegetables Day today. This day actually repeats at least two times a month in my home. It is the pain only someone who is also obsessed with grocery shopping and easily tempted by the sights of fresh greens can empathize. Sometimes, I blame refrigerators and how much it has contributed towards us overbuying and hoarding.
But stews are always the most efficient and reliable rescue vehicles and fall is aptly upon us. So a vegetable stew happened with radishes, okras, eggplants, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes plus some chickpeas and eggs . The stew is predominantly flavored with salty brines of either shrimp paste, fish sauce or dried salted fish. Then, the pungency of these funky ingredients are counteracted with the tang of tamarind juice and the freshly grounded spices.
I usually parboil or blanch the vegetables, one kind at a time, except the greens to retain their best textures and to finish cooking all of them at the same time. But save all the stock. If you are skipping this stage, you can start with tougher root vegetables like carrots, potatoes and radishes and keep the greens for last.
- ¼ cup split Chickpeas
- 4 hard-boiled Eggs, score 6 horizontal lines
- 10 Okras, halved or scored if cooking as a whole
- 1 Eggplant, quartered and cut into 2-inch long pieces
- 2 Tomatoes, diced
- 8-10 Red radishes, halved
- 2 Carrots, quartered and cut into 2-inch long pieces
- 1 Potato, cubed into 1 inch pieces
- ½ cup chopped Onions
- 1 tbsp. of minced Garlic (2-3 cloves)
- 5 tbsp. Oil
- a pinch of Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp. Paprika
- 1 tsp. Shrimp paste (you can substitute it with 2 tsp. of fish sauce)
- 2 tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. ground coriander seeds
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. Tamarind pulp, soaked in 2 tbsp. of lukewarm water
- Handful of Green Chilies and Cilantro for garnish
Prepping the vegetables
- Boil the chickpeas till tender. Drain and save the stock.
- In the same stock, cook the potatoes first till almost soft, then radishes and carrots until half-tender and drain.
- Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a pot and fry the eggplants until soft for 2 minutes.
Making the stew
- Add the rest of the oil to the pot and sauté the chopped onions and minced garlic till translucent. Add turmeric powder.
- Cook the tomatoes until soft and caramelized.
- Stir in and temper the paprika, ground cumin and coriander seeds till fragrant.
- Add potatoes, carrots, radishes and chickpeas and mix well with the sauce.
- Add the vegetable stock and some water, if needed. Total liquid content has to be around 2 cups.
- Season with salt and the shrimp paste or fish sauce.
- Bring the stew to a simmer and add the eggs.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the eggplants and okras, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
- Mix in the tamarind juice and top with cilantro and green chilies.
- Remove the pot from heat and serve with rice on the side.
Burmese language lesson
- Thee-sone-Kyet-Oo-Pae-Chinyay Hinn
- Thee Sone–> Assorted Vegetables
- Kyet-Oo -> Eggs
- Pae -> Peas and Beans
- Chinyay Hinn -> Tangy Stew