It’s 33 degrees Celsius, and feels a lot hotter. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be swimming in salads. But today, I had to clear space in the fridge for fresh arrivals. Here is the odd assortment that needed using up:
- An eggplant
- 5 or 6 medium carrots
- 2 beets
- 3 sad looking tomatoes
- A small chunk of red cabbage
- Spring onions, with the green bits all wilted
I also had a few cloves of garlic, some ginger, a pumpkin and a few onions. My idea was to roast the eggplant over a flame, cook the rest of the veggies in a pressure cooker as for a soup, blend everything together, and stew the blend with cooked whole red lentils and seasonings.
But what seasonings? I asked a few friends, and got so many great ideas I ended up making THREE variations of the stew!
First, I soaked whole red lentils in some hot water. Next, I roasted the eggplant over a direct flame till cooked through, and set it aside to cool. I chopped up all the vegetables I listed above, a third of the pumpkin, one large onion, a few cloves of garlic, a one inch piece of ginger, and the bulbs of the spring onion. I cooked these in a pressure cooker for two minutes at full pressure, and let the pressure release naturally. I transferred the mixture to a big plate to cool.
While the veggies were cooling, I cooked the lentils in the pressure cooker till they were soft – about 7 minutes at full pressure. I peeled the roasted eggplant, and blended the cooked veggies and eggplant until smooth. I then divided the lentils and blended veggies into three portions.
Add dried oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley, along with white pepper powder and salt to blended veggies and lentils, and stew for about 10 minutes on low heat.
Heat up half a tsp of oil in a hot pan. Pop some mustard seeds in the oil, add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, a dried red chilli broken up and fenugreek seeds and cook until light brown and aromatic. Add blended veggies, lentils, turmeric powder and salt, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on low heat.
I wanted to use the spice blend here: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/11/ethiopian-inspired-red-lentil-soup.html. I was missing a few ingredients, though, so I ended up using ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, fenugreek, Kashmiri red chilli, black pepper and turmeric. I added these along with salt to blended vegetables and lentils, and stewed for about 10 minutes on low heat.
Let the three stews sit for a few minutes before eating, to allow flavours to blend better.
All the variations have turned out delicious, and I’m finding it impossible to pick which one I like best!