Spiced Vegetable Stew
On today’s Post we share a Spiced Vegetable Stew as part of the Iftar Potluck through +Lail Hossain of the Google+ Food Bloggers Community. Lail writes the blog withaspin.com A bit late to the virtual event due to vacation and a family reunion, we are still on time at Spiced Peach Blog to share an Iftar meal as part of Ramadan since Lail’s purpose for the event was created to foster better inter-religious understanding of Ramadan throughout the food blog world.
So exactly what foods are prepared for Ramadan? Well, the answer to this is very broad, for the only exclusion, the use of pork or alcohol. Since Muslim people live in many countries throughout the world, the foods shared at the daily Iftar meal represent the very common ingredients and dishes served local to these various regions and countries.
One commonality that makes the Iftar meal particularly special however, is that it is shared each day between families, friends, throughout communities, and, even in Mosques, always at sunset, as part of breaking the day long fast which is then repeated daily over the entire month of Ramadan that occurs every year in the 9th month of the Islam calendar.
Similar to many other religions of the world that maintain a fast at particular times or religious occasion, during the Ramadan fast, Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, serving purposeful time throughout the day in personal self-reflection, a means of offering self-discipline, and spiritual awareness.
Despite being aware on the broad range of recipes likely served at Ramadan, I was inspired to check out if there might be any particularly popular dishes served at Iftar, but as Lail initially shared with us, the scope was indeed quite expansive.
Ultimately I saw a simple soup recipe using pureed carrots and yellow summer squash whose purpose served as a quick and filling nourishment upon breaking the day’s fast for the Iftar meal. Then, just as Muslims represent many people with varied cuisines from throughout the world, I transformed my enameled cast- iron soup pot adding in spices, garlic, tomatoes, and zucchini, still providing in the end, a dish with suited purpose, Spiced Vegetable Stew, a fitting accompaniment to Lail’s virtual Iftar Potluck, part of the community sharing on Ramadan.
- 1/3 cup oil
- 2 onions, halved, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 medium red potatoes, peeled, cubed
- 5 tomatoes fresh or canned, chopped
- 4-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or, strained water saved from cooking corn on the cob
- 6-8 carrots, peeled, chopped
- 2 yellow summer squash, sliced in half lengthwise, sliced into thirds, then chopped
- 2-3 medium sized zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise, sliced into thirds, then chopped
- 1 teaspoon each: ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon each: garam masala and cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, approximately, more or less to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 6 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade (optional)
- 8 leaves fresh mint, chopped (optional)
- With burner on the lowest heat temperature, scrape onions into 1/3 cup warmed oil using an enameled cast- iron soup pot. Cook onions, stirring occasionally for about ten minutes until fully translucent and tender. Add in the garlic, potatoes, and fenugreek seeds, stir well and cook another three minutes before sprinkling over the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper, stirring again and cooking for another three minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cook five minutes before pouring in the stock or strained water saved from corn on the cob. As vegetables simmer in the liquid with the spices, boil water in a medium sized pan, add in the chopped carrots and cook until fully tender, drain, then dump into a food processor and pulse until pureed. Season the carrot puree with a pinch of salt and pepper then stir into the simmering stew. Cook stew for about a half hour or longer until the stew begins to reduce and thicken then add in the chopped yellow summer squash and zucchini and continue cooking until both vegetables are fully softened and infused within the other ingredients, another twenty to thirty minutes, approximately. Stir in the salt and pepper, check seasoning adjusting to desired taste. Top stew with fresh basil and mint before serving.