Autumn Stew
45 Min

Autumn Stew

Just as the weather turns cool, fresh fenugreek starts appearing at specialty grocers. 

An herb that has been around since the Bronze Age, it is used in Middle Eastern cuisine and is very popular as an ingredient in India. The seeds are popped in oil and added sparingly to stews for a slightly bitter note or crushed to become part of pickle masalas. The leaves, fresh or dry, are usually added at the end of cooking to extract their heady fragrance.  

Here is a simple stew in which the sweetness of the yams balances nicely with the smokiness of coriander seeds and bitter fragrance of fenugreek leaves. It can either be enjoyed with rice or bread or on its own as a soup. Either way, it’s a heartwarming way to welcome autumn.

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Cook Time

45 Minutes



Step 1
Wash and scrub the sweet potato and without peeling it, cut it into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Trim the bottom 3 to 4 inches of the fenugreek bunch, remove the thicker part of the stems and finely chop the leaves — it should amount to roughly 1 1/2 to 2 cups loosely packed.
Step 2
In a large stockpot, heat the coconut oil and add the sweet potato chunks. Cook on high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently so they brown a little.
Step 3
Turn the heat to medium and add the turmeric, black pepper, cumin and salt. Stir and continue frying the potatoes for another minute.
Step 4
Next crush the coriander seeds and cardamom pods slightly and add to the stew. Fry for another minute then add 4 cups of water.
Step 5
Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, cover the stockpot and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the potatoes are tender. The sweet potatoes will naturally thicken the stew
Step 6
Add the crushed tomatoes (and chile powder if using) and continue cooking. The coconut oil will rise to the top.
Step 7
Add the fenugreek leaves and turn the heat off. Squeeze the lime juice and serve.
1 to 1 1/2 pounds sweet potato
1 bunch fresh fenugreek
3 to 4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, cracked
8 to 10 green cardamom pods, cracked
1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon chile powder (optional)
Juice of one lime

Notes & Variations

  • To crack cardamom and coriander seeds, use a mortar and pestle or rolling pin ever so gently — they should just barely open up.
  • Substitute 1/2 cup crushed dried fenugreek leaves for one bunch fresh.
  • This stew can be made with carrots, regular potatoes, turnips, or parsnips.
  • To make a richer version, add 1/2 cup of coconut milk or heavy cream.
45 Min

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