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 chilli, 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 chilli
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!
Note: Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients in a database and so this is just an estimate.