January 15th was a festival day here. It's called Sankranthi/Pongal and it's the festival of harvest. You can read more about it in an older post I've written about the festival, its meaning and the traditional foods we make on this day.
During Sankranthi, there is an abundance of sweet potatoes, pumpkins and sugarcane in people's houses. On the festival day my mom makes this amazing Sambar with peanuts, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and avarekai (the most delicious kind of bean in existence). Along with this Sambar, she sent me some pumpkin, sweet potato and sugarcane. The sugarcane was quickly chopped by hubby so we could chew and slurp on the sweet sweet juice. Ahhh the simple pleasures of life! With the other two I decided to make this stew.
It started off as a soup but then the previous night's dinner of Korean stew at Shiro must've had a subconscious influence because before I knew it, I was stewing chunks of tofu in the soup. Either ways, it was a delicious, hearty meal.
I used just one small sweet potato because that's all I had at home but I tweaked the recipe because this'll taste far more scrumptious when the flavor of the sweet potato is stronger.
1 Small Pumpkin
3 Sweet Potatoes
1 Medium Red Onion
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp All Spice Powder
1/4 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1/2 tsp Pepper Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 200gm packs Tofu
1 200ml pack Thick Coconut Mylk
Wash the pumpkin and de-seed it. Scrub the sweet potato and clean it well. Make large cubes of both vegetables with their peels intact.
In a large pot, heat the oil and stir fry the vegetables. Add the spices and salt and stir fry again.
Add 4-5 Cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on a medium flame for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables have become soft. Stir once in a while in between.
Meanwhile, chop the onion into big chunks and spread them out on a baking sheet by separating the layers with your hands. Grill/broil them in an oven until they are crispy and almost burnt (or cook in the microwave on high for 5-6 minutes). These onion 'chips' take on a sweet flavor and are yummy to eat plain!
Also cube the tofu and keep aside.
Once the vegetables are cooked, let them cool for a few minutes. Then add the burnt onions and puree everything together (I find a hand blender to be very convenient for this purpose. They are inexpensive and handy).
Add the coconut mylk and more water if required and blend some more. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Place the pot back on the stove and add the chunks of tofu. Simmer covered, on a low flame, for 10-15 minutes.
Serve hot over plain rice or straight by itself in a big bowl.