A ‘Stew’ is a dish made of vegetables or meat that are cooked slowly in liquid.
In Kerala style stew recipes, the solid ingredients are cooked in coconut milk. In Malayalam, it is also called ‘Ishtu‘. Ishtu is considered a signature dish in Kerala Nasrani (Christian) cooking and is a part of Christain feasts.
Chicken Stew, Mutton Stew, Beef Stew, Fish Stew, Egg Stew, Vegetable Stew are the main stew recipes that you’ll find in Kerala. This dish is also a good example of foreign influences in Kerala cuisine.
Unlike many curry recipes from Kerala, this dish is mild in spice level and have a slightly sweet taste from the coconut milk. The ‘Ishtu’ is usually served in breakfast and it makes a classic combination with Appam, Idiyappam and bread.
From this recipe, you will know how a typical Kerala Vegetable Stew is made.
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- Potato – 2 medium-sized, diced
- Carrot – 1/2 cup, diced
- Green peas – 1/2 cup (see tips below)
- Green beans – 1/2 cup, cut to 1-inch length
- Onion – 1 medium-sized, sliced
- Garlic – 1 tsp, finely chopped
- Ginger – 1 tsp, finely chopped
- Green chillies – 3 numbers, slit (adjust according to your spice level)
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Cinnamon – 2″ stick
- Cloves – 3 numbers
- Cardamom – 3 number
- Black pepper – 1/2 tsp, crushed
- Thin coconut milk – 1 cup
- Thick coconut milk – 1 cup
- Water – 1/2 to 1 cup or as required
- Coconut oil – 2 tbsp
- Salt – as required
- In a kadai, heat coconut oil.
- Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, garlic and ginger. Slightly saute.
- Add sliced onion, curry leaves, green chillies, salt and saute till the onion turns translucent.
- Add green peas, green beans and saute for 5 minutes.
- Add carrot and saute for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add potato and crushed pepper. Mix everything well.
- Add 1 cup thin coconut milk and water as required. Add more salt if needed.
- Cover and cook till the vegetables are soft. You may also use a pressure cooker for faster cooking.
- Add thick coconut milk. Check the salt again. Add more salt if needed.
- Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not boil.
- Switch off the flame when it starts boiling.
- Serve with Appam, Idiyappam or Bread.
- If using dried green peas, take 1/4 cup peas and soak it for 8 hours or overnight.
- Do not overboil the stew after adding thick coconut milk.
- You can prepare the stew by using potatoes alone.
- You can also add cauliflower to the curry.
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