I am re-posting this as an entry for No Croutons Required, hosted by Lisa this month. Zuni stew is a stew prepared by Zuni Indians who lived in New Mexico - this is my version.
I just wanted to tell you about the Zuni Stew we had for dinner over the weekend. I first tasted this on a visit to the US, at a new little restaurant called Spoon River Cafe. I loved the taste of it, and the amazing colours, so I decided I had to make it for you guys at home.
I felt it was particularly appropriate for dinner this Saturday since we would have gorged on cheese Fondue at Diva. At least, I knew dad and I would need the burst of wholesomeness that this dish would provide, and unlike many 'healthy' foods, it doesn't taste or look bland and boiled. In fact, it looks fabulous and is something I plan on feeding dinner guests in the future, since I have shifted to a 'no-fuss-entertaining' way of life.
I have to say, I loved shopping for it, buying the tiny orange pumpkins which the shop told me are referred to as 'disco' pumpkins. The orange and red capsicum, as you know, are my favourite, and I also love buying white onions - they look like giant pearls. The green capsicum and coriander add that dash of deep, rich colour, and the sweet corn kernels add their sweetness to that of the pumpkins. It was almost like therapy to cut each vegetable...to decide whether the dice should be large or small, depending on how fast that particular vegetable gets cooked, to add them one by one, knowing which one needs more cooking time and which less...inhaling the smell of the spices as they warm up in the oil and start smelling aromatic instead of harsh...
And the stew lived up to my expectations from the meal - colourful, flavourful, zingy and yet totally, sumptuously healthy! And guess what? I've taken some of my best food pictures ever with this dish. I know that's not saying much, but for me it's a huge improvement! And what's more, you fusspots had no trouble spooning this down with rice - Yaayy!!
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 small Pumpkin, skinned and cut into chunks ( about 600 grams)
1-2 onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced small
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Half cup of sweet corn niblets
Handful of chopped fresh coriander
1 green chili, diced
1 cup garbanzo beans (chholey)
1.5 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste
Dash sugar if pumpkin isn't sweet
1/2 liter water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Soak the garbanzo beans overnight, if you're not lazy like me. (Umm, I don't know if I should admit it to you kids...but then you should know this by living with me, right?)
Heat the oil in a deep casserole dish. When hot, add the cumin and coriander powders and fry on medium until you get a warm aroma. Add the minced garlic and saute until the garlic is soft but not brown. Add the onions and the green chili and cook until soft. Pour in the water and add the garbanzo beans and salt. Let it simmer until the garbanzo beans are almost cooked and then add the pumpkin. Adjust the water if you need - it shouldn't be too liquid. Once the pumpkin is almost done, throw in first the green pepper, then after 5-6 minutes the red and finally the yellow pepper and the corn. Let it simmer until the yellow pepper is cooked but not pulpy. Throw in the fresh coriander and simmer for one more minute.
Serve hot with, if you want to be authentic, corn bread but if counting calories, any multigrain country-style crusty bread.
Of course, that's the way you are supposed to make it. I like shortcuts, so here's what I did:
Cooked the garbanzo beans in the pressure cooker( 1 whistle). Sauteed the onions, garlic and green chile with the spice powders and then threw in the pumpkin. once that was almost cooked, added in the garbanzos and the peppers one by one and topped with the coriander.
You can also serve it on a bed of rice, or eat it just by itself, with some fruit for dessert if you want to feel particularly healthy.
Tip: You can adjust the level of heat depending on how hot the chili is, by adding chili powder ( or not).