Rich tomato-based stew with fennel, celery and peas

This stew was a show stopper… I was pretty surprised myself, I’m not going to lie. I used ingredients like fennel and oyster sauce in this stew which I wouldn’t actively make a point of adding but it made this dish…

I can highly recommend substituting the Eiland mince in this recipe for lentils or any protein of your choice, I think it’s HIGHLY versatile because most of the flavour profile was provided by the other ingredients. Oh, and adding some parmesan on top just takes this dish to the next level…

>The amount of chillies you add is up to you. You could always add more later on as the stew develops but I enjoy spicy food so, you be the chef!

>I like to crush the cumin seeds to the point where almost all are bruised but only half of fine (you can use the below image as a reference).

>Make sure you wash the celery and fennel THOROUGHLY before using them. I use the stems as well as the leaves in the stew. I used my mandoline to slice the fennel thinly. Also, I like to use some of the finely chopped leaves from the celery or fennel as garnishing afterwards but conveniently forgot this time.

>When all the ingredients have been added and the stew is simmer for the 20-30mins time, that’s when I start cooking rice because this stew just becomes better and better so giving it as much time to ‘marry together is key.

Rich tomato-based stew with fennel, celery and peas

  • Servings: 6-8 servings
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely diced
  • 4 green chillies, coarsely diced
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika powder
  • 5 celery stalks, diced coarsely but evenly
  • 1 medium-sized fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 500g beef mince OR 1/2 cup brown lentils DRY
  • 70g tomato paste
  • 2 cans of diced canned tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • Salt to taste


  1. Add the olive oil, diced onion, chillies, cayenne pepper, cumin seeds, smoked paprika to a saucepan and saute on medium heat until caramelized. Should take about 5-8mins. Stew Spices Cumin seeds
  2. Add the diced celery once the onions have caramelized and cook for another 5mins. Then add the fennel, white wine vinegar and brown sugar and saute for another 5-8mins.
  3. Once the white wine vinegar has evaporated then you can add the beef mince OR lentils, 2 cans of diced canned tomatoes, 1 cup of water, oyster sauce and the tomato paste. Simmer for about 20-30mins. Stirring occasionally.
  4. Add salt to taste and keep warm until you’re ready to serve.

As mentioned above, this is when I like to start preparing my basmati rice or whatever starch you’ve decided on (maybe you’re not having any, and that’s fine!) but the more time you allow the stew to develop the better it gets.

Basmati Rice

  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Firstly rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This will get rid of any unwanted starch in the rice and deliver a fluffier result.
  2. So bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil and add the rinsed basmati rice to the boiling water. Allow the rice to boil uncovered for about 15-20 minutes until the water has evaporated./li>
  3. Cover the rice and remove from the heat allowing the rice to steam for 5mins.
  4. Now your rice should be ready to enjoy.

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