It often occurs to me that I am completely relentless in the pursuit of a new recipe..
This one is exactly that – a retro-engineered version of a delicious Stew that we had recently at the Asia Supermarket Café in Belfast. It has so many things that I love in it – Sweet Potatoes, Spices, a wee bit of Chilli, Coconut milk, and – in my lazy woman’s version – Peanut Butter!
How can it go wrong, I ask you? the answer is that it doesn’t go wrong – it’s just delicious!
This made a big pot, because I was experimenting with quantities, so trim it to suit yourself. However, don’t trim it too much, or you’ll be wishing you’d made enough to do lunch the next day!
- You largest pot
- sharp knife
- potato peeler
- oven proof tray
- A medium-sized bowl and lid/cover
- 2 Red peppers, seeded and cored, cut into large portions
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 225g Carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks * see NOTES
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- A large fat green chilli, chopped
- 500mls Chicken stock – no more. see NOTES
- 2 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into fairly large chunks
- 1 stick of lemon grass – base, tip, and outer leaves removed, crushed with a flat blade , and cut in 2.* See NOTES*
- 1teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1/2 a teaspoon ground Cumin
- 1/2 a teaspoon Turmeric
- A tin of Coconut milk – creamy part only – discard the liquid, or 100g Creamed coconut, grated.
- Juice of half a Lime
- 1 heaped dessertspoon of Peanut Butter – optional, especially with Nut allergy people in the house.
- Also optional: Some sliced cooked chicken – see further down in the method.
- Top with some shredded Spring onions or roughly chopped fresh Coriander
- First roast your peppers – toss the pieces in oil, lay them on a tray and roast at 200ºFan for 20 minutes. Do this first so that they’ll be merrily roasting away while you’re doing the rest.
- Drizzle some oil in the bottom of the pot, and bring it to a medium-hot heat.
- Add the onions and carrots and stir around
- Add the garlic and the Chilli
- Add the 500mls of stock
- Reduce the heat and cover the pot. You want it to simmer for a little while.
- Remove the now-roasted peppers from the oven , transfer to a small bowl and cover immediately. Leave for 10 minutes
- Add the spices, and some freshly ground black pepper, and stir in.
- Peel the skins off the red peppers – this should be very easily done, they’ll just slide or rub off for you. Add the pieces to the pot. Discard the skins.
- Add the Sweet Potato pieces. **see NOTES**
- Reduce heat and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- If you’re going to use the Chicken, add whole trimmed chicken breasts to the pot and cook for about 10 minutes with the lid off. When it’s done, remove it with tongs and slice it up.
- Add the Coconut cream, Peanut Butter (if using)and Lime juice to the stew.
- Remove the Lemon Grass stalk.
- Put some slices of chicken into a warmed bowl, add the stew on top.
- Garnish with shredded Spring onions or chopped Coriander.
- *Carrots in large chunks* – I surprised myself with this addition. I’m not a fan of carrots in stews – it’s a ‘personal taste’ thing, but the Asia Supermarket had them , and in large chunks. I really loved them, and I think it’s because they were just about cooked. They still had a slight crunch, and the taste of fresh carrots. I think carrots in stews can often be over-cooked, or is that just me?
- *Lemongrass* Often you will see recipes which recommend chopping up lemongrass. I’m not one of those people, because although I love the flavour of lemongrass, I hate hard, gritty pieces in anything! Give it a good bashing, and pop it in either whole, or cut in half. The longer you leave it in, the better the flavour. Don’t forget to fish it out before serving though!
- *500mls stock* I forgot that Sweet Potatoes give out a load of juices, so I over-stocked the Stew. So, cook it gently, and only add more stock if you really need it. On a more positive note, it would make an utterly fantastic soup with the extra stock added!
- *Sweet Potatoes*: Sweet Potatoes cook much more quickly that regular white potatoes, so don’t add them too soon – about 15 minutes before you’re going to serve up is about the right length of time. Also, don’t cut them up too small – they’ll disappear, although of course they’ll had added their delicious sweetness to the stew.
- As always with my recipes, please do feel free to make this stew your own, especially since I effectively stole it anyway! Sliced mushrooms – always remembering that they’ll add liquid to the stew too, fresh sweetcorn kernels, Asian greens – suit yourself.