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Simmered in Spices — Sweet Potato and Bean Stew

December 23, 2012

“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living.  For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.”  Louis P. De Gouy,’ The Soup Book’ (1949)


Wet weather and warm sweet potato stew simmered in holiday spices!

It’s been raining here for the past few days.  Sound of rain drops, cozy fireplace, and a  bowl of hot stew!

What could be more appropriate?  Something we all look forward to at this time of the year when weather gets chilly, and we crave for hot food to warm our bodies.

Simmered in warm spices like cinnamon bark and  cloves with fresh ginger, this stew is perfect for holiday season.  Sweet potatoes and red kidney beans with some crushed tomatoes, it is warm goodness in a bowl.  This recipe is quick and simple.  The stew does not take very long to cook.  But if you make it a few hours in advance, the spices get to blend and enrich its flavors.


Sweet potatoes, also known as super food and  perfect food are hearty, nutritious, and rustic.  They tingle our taste buds……sweet or savory.  I love roasting them and then flavoring them different ways whatever I am in mood for.  You can toss them in your favorite herbs, spice blends or dressings.  Add them to salads, grains, or pastas.

Sweet potatoes are one of the most talked about nutritious root vegetables.  Health experts can’t discuss enough their health benefits.

Their beautiful jewel tone and hearty texture adds color to our holiday spread.




3 tablespoons canola or any neutral oil

1 medium onion, diced small

1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced medium

1 15 oz can  of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1 cup crushed canned tomatoes

Sea salt to taste

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Pinch of chili flakes (optional)

1-inch stick of cinnamon bark (cassia) or cinnamon stick

4-5 cloves

1/2- 1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin plus for garnish


Scallions, finely sliced

Cilantro or parsley, finely chopped

Roasted pumpkin seeds


Heat oil in a heavy- bottom pot.  Cook onions for 5-7 minutes until golden.  Add sweet potatoes, red kidney beans, ginger, tomatoes, salt , paprika, chili flakes (if using), cinnamon bark, cloves and stir for 1-2 minutes until all the ingredients are combined well.  Add 1/2 cup water and stir.  Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes until sweet potatoes are cooked through but still hold their shape.  Add a little water if too thick.  Sprinkle ground cumin.  Cover and set the stew aside for flavors to blend.


To serve, heat the stew on low heat and stir gently just a few times.  Remove cinnamon bark and cloves.  Ladle in serving bowls and drizzle a little oil and sprinkle pinch of ground cumin.  Garnish with scallions, cilantro or parsley and pumpkin seeds.


Serve hot with your favorite bread or grain.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 26, 2012 9:31 am

    Winter comfort. Looks wonderful. Must get some sweet potatoes next time I go shopping and make this. I’m not a vegetarian but love vegetarian dishes – hope that makes sense.

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