Indeterminist Stew

Suitable for vegans

It's called that because there are no fixed ingredients, just a method. I've suggested lots of possible ingredients and these are grouped according to the order in which you add them. Chop all your ingredients to about the same size except onions which are better chopped small and lemongrass stems which should be left whole and removed at the end.

How much water you need will depend on how many ingredients you have - if you're cooking for three or four then 1½ pints should be enough but if you use a cupful of dried soya you'll need an extra half pint.

Suggested ingredients

olive oil, vegetable oil, margarine
For frying
onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass stems
ginger, ground allspice, 5-spice, mixed spice, paprika, chilli powder, fenugreek, ground coriander
fresh stock, concentrated stock, stock cubes
Vegetable proteins
soya chunks or mince, quorn, cooked tinned beans like black eye, pinto, kidney, fava, chick peas, lentils
Dense vegetables
fresh potatoes, turnip, parsnip, yam, celeriac
Medium dense vegetables
sweet potato, fresh carrots, cabbage, broccolli
Soft vegetables
fresh peppers, mushrooms, courgettes [zucchini], peas, tomatoes, mange toute [china peas], squash, tinned veg, tinned butter beans, endives [chickory], spinach
nuts, seeds, raisins, mushroom ketchup, soy sauce, sachets of cup a soup, tomato puree, garlic puree, pesto, black bean sauce, yeast extract
Herbs and seasoning
basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, mint, parsley, coriander, salt & pepper


Heat a little oil in your pan then add the chopped onion and fry for a few minutes minutes; add any other frying ingredients and fry for a few minutes more. Add your spices and fry for about one minute to release the flavour then add either water plus a stock cube or fresh stock. Chuck in any vegetable proteins and dense vegetables you're using, bring to the boil and simmer for about ten minutes. Add medium dense vegetables and cook for another five minutes. Add any flavourings, herbs and seasoning you're using - note that powder will absorb some liquid so you may need to add a bit more unless you like it thick and gloopy. Add soft vegetables and cook for five minutes more.

By now, all the ingredients should be cooked and the liquid reduced to about half a pint. Give it another five minutes, then check it's all cooked. If the veg are still too tough for you, add a bit more water and cook some more; if there's too much liquid then simmer to reduce; if there's not enough liquid add some more and heat through.

Meat eaters may like to add raw or cooked meat. Raw meat should be cooked thoroughly first, before adding the other frying ingredients.

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