Moroccan Stew and Cashew Rice

Serves 4-6


For the stew:

1-2 tbsp harissa paste, depending on desired spice (see recipe below)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (1 for the stew, 1 for the roasted squash)
1 red onion, finely chopped 
1 tin chopped tomatoes 
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tin of chickpeas
1 aubergine, cubed
½ butternut squash, chopped into cubes 
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp chilli purée
1 tsp agave syrup or honey
Salt, pepper

For the harissa paste:

10 sun-dried tomatoes 
200g tinned red peppers, or 2 roasted bell peppers
1 tbsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves
4-5 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 lemon, juiced
10g fresh parsley
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp ground pepper

For the rice:

1 cup (225g) basmati rice
2 tbsp olive oil 
½ tsp cumin seeds 
2 bay leaves (optional)
4 green cardamom pods 
4 cloves 
1 onion, finely chopped 
1 carrot, finely diced
50g frozen peas, thawed
50g frozen sweetcorn, thawed
25g cashew nuts, lightly fried in oil 
¼ tsp ground cumin 
salt, pepper


For the rice 

  1. Wash the basmati rice in cold water in a sieve, then put in a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak in water for 30 minutes 

  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-low heat. Fry the cashew nuts for around 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside for later.

  3. Wipe the pan clean then heat another tbsp of oil in the frying pan and fry the cumin seeds for 2 mins. Add the bay leaves (optional), cardamoms and cloves and fry for a further 2 mins

  4. Add the onion and fry for 5 mins, until softened and lightly browned 

  5. Stir in the carrot and cook for 3-4 mins 

  6. Drain the rice thoroughly and add to the pan along with the peas, sweetcorn and the fried cashew nuts. Fry for 4-5 mins

  7. Add 475ml (2 cups) boiled water, the ground cumin and salt to taste. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes over a low heat until all the water is absorbed. Leave to stand with the lid on for about 10 minutes until serving. 

  8. Just before serving, take out the bayleaves, cardamom and whole cloves.

For the harissa paste

  1. 1Add all the ingredients to a mini blender, pulse until smooth 

  2. Taste and adjust seasoning where necessary e.g. more chilli if desired. Set aside. 

For the Moroccan stew

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Place the chopped squash on a lined tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with ½ tsp paprika. Bake for 25 mins until lightly browned and soft

  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large deep pot. Add the onion and garlic and fry until the onion is translucent. Add 1-2 tbsp harissa paste (depending on desired spice level) along with 1-2 tbsp water and lightly fry. 

  3. Add the cubed aubergine along with the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, ½ cup boiled water and agave syrup. Raise the heat to a boil. Season with salt and pepper

  4. Add the roasted squash then simmer for 25 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

  5. Serve with the rice, chopped coriander and vegan coconut/Greek style yogurt



Any extra leftover paste from this recipe can be put in an ice cube tray and frozen to be used at a later date.

Andri Neocleous