A Hearty Stew for the Monsoon
With heavy rains lashing across nearly all parts of India, it's time to indulge in some hot and steaming, stew goodness. A good stew is perhaps one of the healthiest cravings you will experience in good weather. The rich aromas of ingredients like pepper, garlic, and slow stewing meat or vegetables will entice you to leave those samosas aside. Additionally, stews are healthy as they can be cooked with next to no oil, and are perfect one-dish meals with very low calorie counts. Here's a recipe for a hearty chicken and vegetables stew.
This recipe calls for homemade meat stock prepared by pressure cooking or boiling meat (mostly bones) cuts. But you can also use store-bought meat or vegetable stock cubes. But remember to cut your recipe's salt, in that case, as the market stock cubes have high salt content.
- Chicken pieces - 500gms
- 5 cups of stock of your choice (if using store-bought stock cubes, then dissolve 3 in 5 cups of hot water)
- Garlic paste - 1/2 tbs
- 1 medium onion - sliced
- Potatoes - 250 gms (Scrubbed baby potaties - with skins on - make a delicious addition in particular)
- Flour - 2 tbs
- Salt - 1 tsp or to taste
- Pepper - 2tsp
- Skimmed milk - 1/2 cup
- Olive oil - 1tsp
- Optional - 1 cup carrots, 1 cup cauliflower florets, 1/2 cup peas, 2 chopped celery stalks, 1 cup button mushrooms, a handful of pre-soaked shitake mushrooms.
- Add the oil to a wide non-stick pan.
- Add the sliced onions and chopped potatoes, and stir for about 5 minutes. Add garlic after the first 2 minutes.
- Add the flour and roast for a minute or two.
- Add the chicken pieces and salt, and cook for five-8 minutes till the chicken's juices run dry.
- Add the stock (5 cups) along with the black pepper and bring to a quick boil.
- Simmer and cover. Let it cook for another 15-20 minutes till the chicken is soft and tender. You can add vegetables like carrots, cauliflowers and celery at this stage.
- Half-way through, add the milk, some more pepper (as per taste), and continue cooking (within the above mentioned time).
- Once the chicken's done, the vegetables should be done too.
This chicken and vegetable stew goes well with a side serving of buttered toasts or garlic bread. You can even add a 1/2 cup full of steamed rice to the stew for a different taste. Garnish with a few basil leaves, and your bowl full of heaven is ready.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images