Does anyone else buy The Guardian on a Saturday purely for the Feast magazine included with it? No? Just me…? Well… at least it’s free with my Waitrose card……… Anyway, last weekend, I was reading through it while also doing some shopping, and was searching for inspiration for what to make for dinner that day. This was one of the first recipes I saw and I thought it looked interesting – I do love a dish that has a good variety of spices in it. I was also intrigued by the ‘whipped fenugreek’.

Fenugreek is a spice I most often use when making certain curries but I don’t get to use it all that often in general. So I was curious to see what the whipped fenugreek is all about. I didn’t even know that if you soak fenugreek in hot water for a couple of hours you will get a spice sponge, or that you can ‘whip’ a spice in general. I’m now wondering what other spices I can do this with and what effect will that have?

This recipe is a testament of why I like Ottolenghi’s cooking and food so much. It’s always full of flavour, colours and there are quirky things that I’ve never seen before. I like being challenged and have the opportunity to learn new things in my kitchen at home, so I thought I’d see what this is all about.

In all honesty, if you want a quick vegan stew you can skip the whipped fenugreek part all together and you will still have a nice, warming root vegetable stew* (see tip below). But if you fancy yourself a bit of learning something new and experimenting in your kitchen, give this part a go as well.

And you are wondering what the hell Hawaij is, Ottolenghi explains that it’s a spice mix from Yemen. It’s full of flavour and I can see it would go really well with chicken or lamb too! In my slightly adapted version below, I did cheat a little by using canned chopped tomatoes instead of grating fresh tomatoes and it worked well.

More Vegan recipes on the blog: Chickpea, tomato and spinach curry, Cauliflower fritters and Quick spinach, sweet potato and coconut stew.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Hawaij root vegetable stew with whipped fenugreek

Serves 4, generously | Prep 40 mins | Cook 1hr 20 mins + Soaking 2 hrs
Easy/A little effort | Dairy & Gluten Free | Vegan


*Tip: I’ve added instructions relevant to the whipped fenugreek in italic so that you can easily ignore them if you aren’t making it.

You’ll need:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil;
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges;
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed;
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated;
  • 2 tsp tomato paste;
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes;
  • 30g coriander, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve;
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • 1 small head swede, peeled and cut into 3cm chunks;
  • 2 parsnips, peeled, halved widthways, then into 4 lengths;
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut at an angle into 1½cm-thick slices;
  • 2-3 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly 3cm chunks.

For the hawaij

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted;
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted;
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns, toasted;
  • 2 cloves, toasted;
  • Seeds from 8 cardamom pods;
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric.

For the whipped fenugreek paste

  • 2 tsp ground fenugreek;
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped;
  • 1 spring onion, roughly chopped;
  • 10g coriander, roughly chopped;
  • 1 lemon, juiced to get 1½ tbsp;
  • Salt

First make the whipped fenugreek. Put the ground fenugreek and 250ml boiling water in a small bowl and leaving to soak for at least two hours, or overnight. Pour out and discard the liquid, leaving the spongy fenugreek in the bowl. Add a tablespoon of water and use a small whisk to whip the fenugreek until it’s pale and resembles mayonnaise – about 10 minutes by hand. Tip into a food processor, add the chilli, spring onion, coriander, lemon juice, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and three more tablespoons of water, and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides as you go.

Now make the hawaij spice. Grind the coriander and cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves and cardamom (in a spice grinder or mortar) until fine, then stir in the turmeric.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about four minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic, ginger, tomato paste and hawaij spice mix, and cook for 30 seconds more, or until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, two-thirds of the coriander and two tablespoons of water, and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have cooked down. Add 650ml water, the sugar, root vegetables and one and three-quarter teaspoons of salt, bring up to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and the stew has thickened. Stir in half the whipped fenugreek, cook for 10 minutes more, then stir in the remaining coriander.

Divide the stew between four bowls, drizzle over the remaining fenugreek mixture, scatter a little coriander on top. and serve with yoghurt (dairy-free or Greek) and some crusty bread, if you’d like.


Adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi from Guardian’s Feast (16 February 2019), available online here.

Previously posted on this day (19 February):

== 2018 ==
* Coconut Dhal: