Kerala vegetable stew is an aromatic, mildly spiced, creamy, veggie-packed coconut curry. It’s a simple, filling, feel-good, family-friendly stew.
It’s also (Indian) pantry-friendly and easily customizable based on what you’ve got at home. This is a great clean-out-the-fridge recipe. Don’t have a lot of veggies at home? Use what you have. I’ll sometimes make this using just potatoes + frozen veggies and it turns out well.
I’m sharing two methods to making this stew: in an instant pot, or on the stovetop. The instant pot method is really easy and takes minutes. The stovetop recipe takes longer but is a good option for those who either don’t own an IP or have the time to cook and enjoy watching a pot simmering on the stove (I like to do this on a slow weekend every now and then – it’s kinda nice).
WHAT IS KERALA STEW?
Stew, or ishtu as it’s called in Kerala, is a type of curry made with whole spices, curry leaves and coconut milk. You can make Kerala stew using different main ingredients. I already have recipes for egg stew, chicken stew and ground meat stew on my blog. It’s about time I share this vegan version.
This south Indian Keralite stew tastes very different from my north Indian vegetable korma. Both are great vegetable-packed recipes, but this stew is meant to be a milder dish and calls for a different blend of spices which of course, gives it a different flavor profile.
A GOOD WAY TO GET THE WHOLE FAMILY EATING MORE VEGGIES
This is a great way to get your family to eat their vegetables. The curry is rich and creamy, delicately spiced (for an Indian recipe, lol) and calls for kid-friendly veggies like carrots, potatoes, green beans and peas. I sneak cauliflower in there too!
My Keralite husband, Roby, says this is just like his mom’s stew which makes me really happy because we all know, there’s nothing like mom’s cooking. She makes the most amazing food and helps me with my Keralite recipes. 🙂 My mom-in-law does not add cauliflower to stew as that’s not a commonly found vegetable in Kerala. I really like cauliflower and find it’s a good way to get my kiddos to eat it so I add it – but it’s up to you!
This type of stew is perfect for a weekend breakfast/brunch. We’ll eat it for dinner too. You can easily adapt the vegetables according to what you have at home and it’s even better the next day.
Serve this stew with appam (lacy rice pancakes – recipe coming once I can perfect them) or matta rice. Feel free to garnish this stew with ghee-coated cashews for a fancier stew or if you’re making this on a special occasion.Print
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 cardamom pods
- 3 whole cloves
- 1-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 serrano pepper, slit but still intact
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 15–20 curry leaves
- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (approx 3 cups)
- 2 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped green beans
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon homemade Kerala garam masala (different from garam masala)
- 1 can + 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk, divided
Instant Pot Directions
- Press saute, add coconut oil and once it melts, add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon. Once fragrant, add onion, serrano, curry leaves, ginger and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions soften (no need to brown) and become fragrant.
- Add the veggies, salt, pepper, homemade Kerala garam masala and 1 can of coconut milk.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 3 minutes at high pressure.
- Quick release.
- Press sauté and pour in the remaining cup of coconut milk. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Melt coconut oil in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
- Add the whole spices and after a minute, add the onion, serrano, ginger and curry leaves to the pot and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the onions soften and become fragrant.
- Add the veggies, salt, pepper, homemade Kerala garam masala, 1 can of coconut milk and ½ cup of water (making this on the stovetop requires adding some water) to the pot and bring the curry to a simmer, then cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Pour in the remaining cup of coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil then turn off the heat. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper to taste.
Feel free to garnish this stew with ghee-coated cashews for a fancier stew or if you’re making this on a special occasion.