Mixed Vegetable Stew with Mustard

(Photo by Laurel Fan/Flickr)

A hearty vegetable stew featuring vegetables in season. Make a selection of 4 or 5 varieties and if any need longer cooking than the others, blanch them briefly in a little water first and use the cooking water for the liquid in this dish. Serve with rice.

Serves 4


1 tablespoon black or brown mustard seeds
250 ml/8 fl oz water or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 green chillies, split
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 teaspoons ground coriander
11/2 cups peeled and cubed firm yellow pumpkin
11/2 cups green beans, cut in 5 cm/2 in lengths
11/2 cups cauliflower sprigs
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 potato or sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons salt
1 cassia leaf (tej pattar), optional
3 teaspoons brown sugar
good grinding of black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander leaves
lime wedges for serving


Soak the mustard seeds in the water for at least an hour, then grind in an electric blender. Alternatively, stir a tablespoon of prepared whole grain mustard into a cup of cold water.

Heat ghee or oil in a heavy pan or wok and fry the chillies, ginger, cumin, nigella and fennel seeds until they are fragrant. Stir in turmeric and ground coriander and fry for a few seconds, then add all the prepared vegetables and stir over low heat for 5 minutes. Pour in mustard blended with water. Add salt, cassia leaf and sugar, mix gently, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. If necessary, add a little more stock or water. Stir in pepper and sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice and wedges of lime for squeezing over.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)