Matar Ka Nimona, a green pea stew from Uttar Pradesh is a much soothing and flavourful winter dish.
With all the different diversities that India sees, one thing that’s very distinct is the fact that here as season changes, so does food habits across the country. Come summers we crave for Mangoes, okra, jackfruit, pumpkin, brinjal while winters sees the abundance of Greens like mustard, fenugreek, radish; red and black carrots and the much delightful Matar or peas.
Kitchens in winter are all about warmth and flavours. From Halwa to paratha to Tehri there’s always some smoke in the kitchen. One dish that’s not spoken about is Matar Ka Nimona, a green pea stew that’s much soothing and flavourful. The name Nimona might sound unusual but mostly in eastern UP, any curry cooked with fresh seasonal green lentils to make a thick daal is called Nimona. This dish from Uttar Pradesh is a winter delight. The state that was home to Empires like Nanda, Mauryan, Sunga, Kushan, Gupta and more it’s obvious that the food also sees rich cultural mix. Matar ka Nimona made with paste fresh green peas and mangodi is basically a thin soupy consistency gravy that is mildly spiced and flavourful. This spicy curry is paired best with rotis, parathas or plain steamed rice.
As the grounded peas is slightly fried with asafoetida and spices till the ghee separates on the sides. What comes out of it is a thick, soupy, dish with the potatoes and wadi’s adding extra texture to it. This vegetarian gourmet dish can be best enjoyed in Benares and most homes have their own little twist or variation. For the uninitiated there’s palak ka nimona too.
• ½ kilo shelled peas
• 2 large onions
• 4-5 garlic cloves
• Slice of ginger
• 2 green chillies
• 1 large potato, cubed
• 3-5 medium-sized urad dal wadi
• ¼ teaspoon turmeric
• 1½ teaspoon coriander powder
• ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
• 1 tbsp ghee
• ¼ cup mustard oil
• ¼ teaspoon asafoetida
• ½ cup coriander leaves, chopped
• Salt to taste
• Grind raw peas and green chilies together. Don’t make it fine paste but ground coarsely.
• Make a paste of onions, ginger and garlic without any water.
• Fry the urad wadis and cubed potatoes.
• In a wok add mustard oil and heat it. Lower the flame and add the onions-ginger-garlic paste. Cook the masala until the oil separates from the sides of the pan.
• Add the dry spices one by one but make sure it doesn't burn. Stir and let it cook for sometime.
• Add the ground peas and mix well with masala. Cook in medium flame, and stir at intervals. Add a little water.
• Adjust the water to fix the consistency of the stew, and let it simmer for 15 minutes on low flame. Now add the potatoes and wadis. Simmer for another 20 minutes till potatoes are cooked.
• Finish with ghee and garam masala.
• Serve with hot rotis or steaming rice.