Squash and cauliflower stew with chilli, spices and ground nuts

Photograph: Emma Jervis

Photograph: Emma Jervis

Sat, Aug 18, 2018, 06:00

  • Serves: 6
  • Cooking Time: 45 mins
  • Course: Main Course


  • 3tsp cumin seeds
  • 2tsp fennel seeds
  • 4tsp dried oregano
  • 4tbs sesame seeds
  • 50g whole almonds
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • Olive oil
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Small piece of fresh ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 butternut squash, thickly sliced
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 250g frozen peas
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced or whole
  • Pak choi, shredded
  • Chopped coriander and mint


This stew is a complete meal in one pot. Feel free to use a mixture of root vegetables or what is lying around in your fridge. With a little effort this dish can be upgraded to dinner party status by serving it with fried polenta squares and a bowl of cucumber salsa dressed with lime juice.

1. Toast the cumin and fennel seeds in a dry pan until they start to brown and the aroma is filling the air. Mix the spices with the oregano and grind.

2. In the same pan toast the sesame seeds until lightly browned, followed by the almonds and cashews. Roughly chop the nuts and mix with the sesame seeds. Roughly process the mixture, remove half (to sprinkle over before serving) while still rough and continue to process the rest to a fine powder.

3. Now puree the onions, garlic, chilli and ginger. Add some oil to a large casserole pan and cook the puree for a few minutes, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Add the ground spice mixture and cook for another minute.

4. Next add the squash and the stock and cook for 15 minutes or until the squash is nearly soft.

5. Add the cauliflower and the powdered nut and seed mixture along with the tin of coconut milk. Bring back to the boil and simmer until the cauliflower is nearly tender. Add the peas and mix in well and allow to simmer for another couple of minutes.

6. In the meantime heat a frying pan until hot, add some oil followed by the mushrooms and season well with salt and pepper. Continue with the heat high until the mushrooms are nicely brown and no liquid remains.

7. To serve, scatter the mushrooms over the stew followed by the chopped nuts, the shredded pak choi and the chopped herbs.