I finally made the viral recipe that was featured on New York Times ‘The Stew’ by Alison Roman and here are my thoughts.
When a recipe goes viral and it is still popular several months later, I get terrible FOMO. So I was always going to try this recipe although (being Indian) it kinda reminded me of a recipe I know well.
So there I was minding my own business on social media, when I happened to stumble upon a recipe that had gone viral. A recipe that people were really really raving about. Obviously, I had to see what all the hype was about. So I headed over to the New York Times website and read the recipe. It seemed simple enough and also sounded quite similar to a recipe that I had made before. Being Indian, recipes using chickpeas and coconut milk are in abundance. Shocking, I know.
The description of The Stew, Alison Roman’s recipe
‘Spiced chickpeas are crisped in olive oil, then simmered in a garlicky coconut milk for an insanely creamy, basically-good-for-you stew. While the chickpeas would be good as a side dish, they are further simmered with stock, bolstered with dark, leafy greens of your choosing and finished with a handful of fresh mint. When shopping, be sure to avoid low-fat coconut milk, coconut milk meant for drinking or cream of coconut: All are very different and would not be suitable here.’
Why people love it
I knew that the appeal with this recipe was its simplicity – hello simple pantry ingredients, that it was healthy and that it was very comforting. Cold weather and bowl food = Happy tummies.
Almost as if to prove my point, I had all the ingredients at home already..so I didn’t have to brave the cold, I wanted healthy food that day and I happened to be craving a bowl of comfort food..hmm..what would I make?
..AND I made it. Initially I though it was a little bland but I don’t always need my tastebuds to be blown away. Sometimes subtlety is good right?
Also some of it was so very similar to chana masala that I couldn’t understand why it had been named The Stew..and not just Chana Masala with Coconut Milk and Greens or something to that effect. Because we do have variations of Chana Masala too.
With this recipe, I wasn’t getting the hype. I felt like it needed something more. SO I made it again but amped up/toned down some of the flavours..It worked.
Here is what I did differently:
- Cooked the onions until a verrrrry deep golden brown before adding the garlic and ginger. It is the indian in me. I cannot skip this step.
- I finely grated the Ginger and crushed the Garlic. In the recipe the garlic and ginger are chopped. I just prefer mine super fine.
- Added the turmeric earlier on and added none at the end. I added just 1/2 a tsp too.
- I didn’t use any raw turmeric at all.
- Added extra garlic because I love it.
- Added a little Garam Masala towards the end of cooking.
- Chucked in extra cumin because I love it.
- Squeezed in some lemon juice at the end.
- Reduced the mint leaves. I have an aversion to too much mint because I was over exposed to it during one period in my life.
- I also reduced the overall quantity of Greens. That is just my personal preference.
Check out the video here.