All the world is nuts about
What's in The Nut Gourmet
During this shiver-producing, cold-weather assault, I find myself clinging to the old-fashioned notion that wintertime is stew time. I know I have plenty of company thinking this same delicious idea has a way of lifting spirits and offering wholesome and warming satiety. While most of the vegetables in this Indonesian-inspired stewpot are familiar, the seasonings blend to create a uniquely flavored dish braised in a thick broth laced with tamarind, Chinese chili paste, and star anise. Hearty chunks of tempeh are also native to Indonesia, a country whose cuisine encompasses herbs and spices from all of its surrounding neighbors, resulting in a melting pot of flavorful regional foods.
SAVORY INDONESIAN STEW
Yield: about 6 servings
3 large carrots, peeled and thick sliced
3 medium onions, quartered
8 to 10 cloves garlic, peeled, whole
3 star anise, whole or 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
Vegetable broth or water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons tamarind paste
3/4 teaspoon Chinese chili paste
1 pound (450g) tempeh, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium potatoes, unpeeled, cut into bite-size chunks
2 to 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
1 to 2 large zucchinis, thick sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and pepper
- In an 8 to 10-quart (8 to 10 liter) stockpot, combine the carrots, onions, garlic, and star anise. Add vegetable broth or water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium until the liquid is simmering gently.
- Add the soy sauce, tamarind paste, and chili paste and stir well to incorporate them into the broth. Add the tempeh and cook about 5 to 7 minutes. Make sure there is sufficient liquid and add a little extra vegetable broth, if needed to provide enough sauce to cook the vegetables.
- Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and zucchinis and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender.
- Add the lemon juice and sugar, beginning with the smaller amount, and season with salt and pepper. Adjust the seasonings as needed to create a tangy savory flavor with just a delicate hint of sweetening.
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