Tomato Stew


Most evenings, on my way home I would stop to buy a bowl of incredible deliciousness; Tomato Stew or “Ishtew”, as I remember her calling it. She was an old woman with incredible passion for life, every food from her kitchen had a story attached to it and she took immense pride in telling it. An immigrant carrying her culture and embracing the new beginnings; the lines of her face were proof of her experiences and wisdom.

Somehow I never asked her the origin of this stew or anything else, it was all good. Her food was like comfort and faith; mending many broken hearts and cheering infinite low spirits!!

This is my version of the “Tomato Stew”, simple and elegant this stew is a delightful and comforting. I absolutely agree that slow cooking is the essence for a good deep stew but once again this recipe challenge this belief. A bowl of comfort ready in minutes, this stew is a life saver when you need comfort instantly!!


I like to add peas to this stew but if you don’t like just don’t add or you can add any other vegetable of your choice. Also at the end I like to add a thick pat of butter, we are talking comfort right. But as I always say, use the recipe as guide and add your special touch. Lastly I like the ease of canned tomatoes for this recipe but fresh tomatoes are always perfect and beautiful!!

Tomato Stew


  • Tomatoes – 1 can (14.5oz).
  • Peas – 1 cup.
  • Onions – 1 cup, finely chopped.
  • Ginger – 1 tsp., minced.
  • Garlic – 1 tsp., minced.
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 1-inch piece.
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp.
  • Dry spices –
  • Cayenne pepper – ½ tsp.
  • Paprika – ½ tsp.
  • Ancho chilies (dried, powdered) – ½ tsp. (optional).
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp.
  • Salt and pepper as per taste.
  • Olive oil – 2-3 tbsp.
  • Cilantro – ¼ cup chopped.
  • Butter; to be added at the time of serving (optional).


  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan, add cumin seeds and fry them till they start to get golden brown, 30-45 seconds. Add chopped onions along with bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Fry toil onions start to get translucent.
  2. Add minced ginger and garlic along with 1-2 Tbsp. of water, stir-fry till all water evaporates. Quickly add all the dried spices and fry for few seconds, keep stirring constantly.
  3. Finally add the canned tomatoes and ½ cup of water. Give everything a good stir and cover the lid. Let it simmer on medium low for 5-7 minutes or until the liquid starts to dry out.
  4. Finally add the thawed peas, salt, pepper and around ¼ cup of water or enough to get the right consistency you want for stew. Cover and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add chopped cilantro and butter. Serve hot with bread or rice.

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