Susan Jane White on going back to our roots
Nourishing broths and stews have become a vital part of my life, just like sneaking cayenne pepper onto the toothbrush of someone I'm married to (no names). There's something so comforting about a warm bowl of liquid goodness that seems to reach every cell in my body like a sunbeam. This one is good enough to resuscitate indolent engines and over-demanding housemates.
We're going back to our roots. Onions, ginger, turmeric, garlic - all of these ingredients make this stew feel grounding as well as uplifting. Either you like ginger, or you're completely nuts about it. You'll find it adds an extra karate kick to sore throats.
Garlic and ginger are dazzling teammates. Like Bogart and Bacall, they're made for each other, and have such chemistry when forced into a boiling pot together.
More good news? There's a reason we honk after garlic. The volatile oils that are naturally present in garlic are responsible for warding off irritating family members. You're welcome.
Go ahead and use whatever greens you can police from the remnants of your fridge. It's worth stocking up on juicy cabbages such as sweetheart, napa, pak choi - all of them will last for a surprisingly long time in the fridge, compared to the more traditional greens like chard and spinach. Any excess cabbage can be turned into kimchi and then flaunted over Instagram with the air of a nutritional Jedi. Extremely good value for money, I say.
Ginger, Lime & Coconut Fish Stew
Serves 6 with rice, or 4 without
You will need:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
2 medium brown onions or 1 large leek
6 cloves garlic
2 x thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 x 400g tin butter beans (or other tinned beans)
650ml vegetable stock
Juice of 1 small lime
1 x 400ml tin full-fat coconut milk
2 boneless fish fillets
Bunch of greens, finely sliced (chard, pak choi, spinach or savoy cabbage) To serve, you will need (optional):
Rice or sweet potato mash or pistachio nuts and sour cream
1 Put the extra-virgin coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium flame. Slice and dice the brown onions or the leek, whichever you are using, and sweat them in the oil until they are soft and glassy - this should take about eight minutes. Now grate the garlic and the fresh ginger into the pot. Turn up the heat and add the ground turmeric and the drained tinned beans, and cook with a loud sizzle.
2 Once everything begins to colour, pour in the vegetable stock, the lime juice and the tinned coconut milk. Let this mixture gently murmur (not boil) for 20 minutes while you cut your fish fillets into bite-sized pieces. (Prawns can be ace, too.) As soon as you're ready to eat, drop the cubes of fish into the hot pot alongside the finely sliced greens. Cook for 3-5 minutes - long enough to wilt the greens and cook the bite-sized pieces of fish. Plate up in big deep bowls.
3 You can serve this stew with rice, if you wish. Sweet potato mash is also a gorgeous accompaniment, or some crushed pistachio nuts and sour cream.