- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tablespoon shredded fresh ginger
- 500 g (1 lb) butternut pumpkin (squash), peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- seeds from 6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 3 bay leaves
- 800 g (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes
- 250 g (8 oz) large carrots, thickly sliced
- 300 ml (10 fl oz) vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup (40 g) raisins
- 1/3 cup (30 g) dried cherries
- 125 g (4 oz) okra, sliced lengthwise into thirds
- 1 large red capsicum (bell pepper), chopped
- 420 g (15 oz) can chickpeas or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup (30 g) toasted flaked almonds
- chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, to garnish
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion over high heat for 2–3 minutes, or until beginning to soften and colour. Toss in the garlic and ginger and cook for a few more seconds. Tip in the pumpkin and sauté for 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat and add all the spices, along with the bay leaves, tomatoes and carrots. Pour in the stock, then stir in the raisins and cherries. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir the okra and capsicum into the stew. Cover and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the chickpeas and simmer for a further 5–10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender but still retain their shape and texture. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and parsley and serve.
Browning the onion adds depth of flavour to the dish, so if you have a slow cooker you can sauté in, or you don’t mind using another pot, follow step 1 as above. (Alternatively, reduce the oil to 1 tablespoon and omit the sautéing step.)
Reduce the stock to 150 ml (5 fl oz) and add to the slow cooker with all the remaining ingredients, except the almonds and parsley. Gently combine, then cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and parsley and serve.
For a quick spicy couscous, put 350 g (12 oz) instant couscous in a large heatproof bowl. Stir in 2 cups (500 ml) boiling vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon chilli sauce or harissa, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin. Cover and leave for 5 minutes for the liquid to absorb. Just before serving, separate the grains with a fork.