This vegan stew has the perfect blend of sweet, sour and spice. Plus it is packed with vegetables. Comforting and uplifting, this is soul food in a bowl!
This vegetarian stew is a traditional dish from my home state of Andhra Pradesh, India and we call it Mukkala Pulusu (Mukkala = chopped vegetables; Pulusu = stew). Traditionally, this dish is served with some steaming hot rice and a simple dal.
Vegan Stew Recipe Ingredients
Veggies, veggies and more veggies is the essence of this dish!
Vegetables: Pumpkin is the star of the show in this recipe. The other vegetables that I have added are sweet potatoes, string (green) beans and okra.
Jaggery: I love the caramel taste of this golden brown unrefined sugar. You can use muscovado or dark brown sugar instead.
Tamarind Extract: I make tamarind extract at home. Feel free to use shop bought tamarind extract/concentrate. Learn how to make tamarind extract at home.
Chickpea Flour: (Besan) This helps bind the liquid and give the stew a smooth texture.
Spices for tempering: The spices used in tempering, help add loads of flavour (and extra health benefits) to the dish. It is ok to skip this step entirely - the stew will still taste delicious!
A quick note about the vegetables
Being a veggie forward dish, this stew is a blank canvas for vegetables that you can add to it. Having said that, as a rule of thumb, add only those vegetables that can hold their shape and not get too mushy when cooked.
In addition to what I have included in this recipe - sweet potatoes, pumpkin, string beans and okra, these vegetables work well: carrots, potatoes, calabash (bottle gourd), ash gourd and drumsticks/moringa.
Do you love stews as well? Do let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you - Padma
This is one of those fuss free recipes that hardly requires any work. Just a few steps and voila! it is done!
- Prep the vegetables: Peel and chop the pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Wash and chop the okra and string beans - 3-4 pieces each. Cut the vegetables into chunky pieces so that they do not become mushy and dissolve in the stew!
- Measure the ingredients and keep them ready. Boil the water. Make the tamarind extract.
- Place a heavy bottomed soup pot on medium heat. Add the chopped veggies, salt, turmeric, ground chilli, jaggery, tamarind extract and hot water to it. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
- In a small bowl, mix the chickpea flour with about 2 tablespoons of water (not hot) to make a smooth, lump free slurry.
- Add this slurry to the simmering stew. Stir the stew with one hand while adding the slurry, otherwise the chickpea flour will form lumps. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and keep aside.
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Add oil, fenugreek and mustard seeds. Add the asafetida, red chilli (tear it into 2-3 pieces) and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds splutter. Add this spiced oil to the stew. Stir.
Jaggery: Instead of jaggery, you can use muscovado or dark brown sugar.
Tempering: It is ok to skip this step completely. The stew will still taste yummy!
Sweet potatoes: Do not have them? It ok, use potatoes instead.
Pumpkin: You can use butter nut squash instead of pumpkin.
Chickpea Flour: You can use rice flour or all purpose flour instead of chickpea flour (besan)
This recipe is a winner because
- Well, for starters, it is a hassle free, one pot dish! Less washing, yay!
- If you, like me, despise chopping vegetables and /or are rushed for time, this stew is such a savior! It is one of those rustic recipes that requires no fine chopping skills nor any elaborate preparations!
- This stew has SO many vegetables in it that you do not need another side dish.
- All this requires are pantry staples such as sweet potatoes (or potatoes), carrots, okra, pumpkin.
- It is a great way to introduce veggies to your child. Having a good balance between sweet and sour, you little one will fall in love with it!
- This can be hand on its own - a big bowl of this can make a satisfying meal. You can have it as a side to your main meal.
I am so excited to be sharing this childhood favorite dish with you.
I have grown up having this veggie stew with rice and dal. The bland rice beautifully balances the sweet-sour of the stew.
If you are not a big fan of rice, serve this stew on a bed of mash potatoes.
You can enjoy a bowl of this with your favorite soup roll.
Or just enjoy it on its own.
Here are some other dishes that will go well with this stew.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vegetable stew are a blank canvas for vegetables! You can add vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, calabash (bottle gourd), moringa/ drumsticks, potatoes and okra.
The best way to thicken a stew is to make a slurry of flour with water. The flours most commonly used for making a slurry are chickpea flour (besan), corn starch, rice flour or all purpose flour. Mix the flour with some water and make a smooth, lump free slurry. Add this slurry to the stew and mix well.
Have you forgotten to thicken it? Or perhaps the thickening ingredient is not enough and you need to use more of it? When you add the right quantity of thickening ingredient (such as besan, rice flour or corn starch), the stew will start thickening almost immediately.
I hope that you enjoy making this vegan stew as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. If you have made it, please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! xx Padma
Sweet and Sour Vegan Stew
- 1 soup pot
- 1 ladle
- 1 small frying pan (for tempering)
- 1 medium sized sweet potato (100 grams, approximately)
- 1 small pumpkin (200 grams, approximately)
- 10-12 string (green) beans
- 5-6 okra
For the stew
- 4 tablespoons tamarind extract
- 3 tablespoons powdered jaggery
- 1 teaspoon ground red chili (optional)
- 1 and ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 and ½ cups hot water
- 2 teaspoons chickpea flour (besan)
- 2 tablepoons water
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
- ¼ teaspoon powdered asafetida
- 5-6 curry leaves
- 1 dried red chili
Prep the vegetables
- Peel and chop the sweet potato and pumpkin into cubes (about, 1 inch). Chop the string beans and okra into 2-3 pieces, each.
Measure and keep the ingredients ready
- For the stew and the tempering.
Making the stew
- Place a heavy bottomed soup pot on medium high heat. Add the chopped veggies, tamarind extract, salt, powdered jaggery, turmeric, ground red chilli and hot water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot half way (and leave some space for the steam to escape) and cook till vegetables are soft but not mushy. This step will take 10-15 minutes. Stir the pot once or twice.1 medium sized sweet potato, 1 small pumpkin, 10-12 string (green) beans, 5-6 okra, 4 tablespoons tamarind extract, 3 tablespoons powdered jaggery, 1 teaspoon ground red chili, 1 and ½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon turmeric, 2 and ½ cups hot water
- Place the chickpea flour in a small bowl. Add water to it and mix to make a smooth slurry. When the vegetables in the stew have cooked through, gently (while stirring) add the slurry to the pot. Let it cook for another 5 minutes. You will see that the stew thicken. If you want it thicker, increase the quantity of chickpea flour.2 teaspoons chickpea flour (besan), 2 tablepoons water
- While the stew is still simmering, heat oil in a small frying pan. Add the fenugreek seeds. Let them sizzle and when they start turning darker in colour, add the mustard seeds, asafetida, dried red chilli (tear it into 2-3 pieces) and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add it all to the simmering stew. Stir. Take off from the heat and serve warm on a bed of mashed potatoes, cooked rice or on its own.1 tablespoon neutral oil, ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds, 1 teaspoons brown mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon powdered asafetida, 5-6 curry leaves, 1 dried red chili
- Vegetables: This recipe gives you flexibility to add a variety of vegetables. The general rule of thumb is to use those veggies that can hold their shape and not become mush after cooking such as carrots, potatoes and calabash. Some veggies that should not be used in this recipe are aubergines, bitter melon and zucchini.
- If you do not have sweet potatoes, you regular potatoes instead.
- You can use butternut squash instead of pumpkin.
- Jaggery: I love the caramel flavour of jaggery in this recipe. If you do not have jaggery with you, use the same quantity of dark brown sugar or regular white sugar.
- Tempering: This process is a way of adding essential spices to bring out the best of this dish - both in nutrition and flavour. If you find it difficult to find these ingredients, or just cannot be bothered, it is absolutely ok to skip this step. The stew will still taste delicious!