They may not be everyone’s favorite vegetable, but in our home, Brussels sprouts make happy dinners — and diners. Especially when I serve them in this creamy, easy Brussels sprouts stew with the double goodness of coconut and cashew nuts.
Over here, dinners are more often than not cooked in short order. (Jay, poor kid, knows not to question the PBJ when it puts in a familiar appearance, because it means mom is up to her eyeballs with a work deadline, and needling her at a time like that will very possibly result in “annoyed mom.”) So I get to sigh in guiltless relief when I can feed us something healthy and tasty that takes under 30 minutes to make from scratch. Like this Brussels sprouts stew.
The winner here is the creamy sauce: it’s silken and rich and it coats your tongue with the sparkling flavors of spices, herbs and garlic. The cashewnuts add some protein muscle, and the Brussels sprouts themselves are cooked to a velvety softness that almost melts in your mouth. You could use this sauce for almost any vegetable: cauliflower would work, so would zucchini or even carrots.
The reason Brussels sprouts get a bad rap is because they are widely — and correctly — known as a “healthy food” and somewhere in our crooked brains we have equated that term with “tasteless” or “boring.” Cooked the right way, though, Brussels sprouts are neither boring nor tasteless; in fact, they are spectacular. I love roasting them with some garlic, or pan-frying them with some lentil paste and Indian spices. But this stew, an easy recipe if there ever was one, is quite possibly my new favorite way to eat this mighty veggie.
Even if you are only an occasional Indian cook, you likely have most of these ingredients in your pantry already. Black mustard seeds, turmeric, and garam masala (or curry powder would do too) are the only “specialty” ingredients you need here. The curry leaves are optional, although they do add some delicious, fresh flavor, so use them if you can. And one more secret: don’t shy away from using frozen Brussels sprouts in this recipe, if you can’t find them fresh. No one will be able to tell. 😉
- 1 pound small Brussels sprouts (if you can't find the teeny ones use the large ones but halve them for quicker cooking)
- 1 medium red onion finely diced
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves minced
- 4 cloves garlic smashed with a knife or in a mortar and pestle until they are almost a paste
- 1 leaves spring of curry . This is optional. about 12 individual leaves
- 2 medium tomatoes diced
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne (or any red pepper powder)
- 2 tsp garam masala (can sub with curry powder or even sambar powder-- they will all result in flavor differences but will all be delicious versions of each other)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 14-oz can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 lemon or lime
- Heat the oil in a wide saucepan and add mustard seeds. When they sputter, add the coriander leaves, curry leaves if using, and garlic. Saute for a minute.
- Add the onions and saute for a minute until they begin to turn translucent. Add the tomatoes and powdered spices-- the garam masala, cayenne and turmeric. Saute, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes release most of their liquid and get pulpy.
- Add the cashews, Brussels sprouts and some salt to taste. Cover the saucepan to let the Brussels sprouts get tender, around 5-8 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing's sticking to the bottom. If necessary, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan.
- Add half the coconut milk and let the sauce come to a simmer. Check if the Brussels sprouts are tender by piercing one with a fork in the center. Add the remaining coconut milk and just warm through without letting the stew boil.
- Check salt and add more if needed.
- Serve the stew hot with some rice or bread. Squeeze on some lemon or lime juice over the stew while serving.
Brussels sprouts recipes from the archives: