Fresh green peas are one of the culinary highlights of winter in India. Celebrate this winter vegetable in all its glory with 8 delcious desi dishes.
Peas are sadly often overlooked in the realm of winter vegetables and are truly remarkable. Many limit their use to dishes like paneer bhurji or matar pulao. However, the potential of this protein-rich vegetable goes far beyond. Not only do peas offer substantial dietary fibre to promote digestive well-being, but they are also a rich source of essential nutrients, including iron, vitamins C and E, zinc, and other immune-boosting antioxidants.
These verdant legumes, available fresh, canned, or frozen, belong to the legume family, alongside soybeans, chickpeas, and various beans. While being low in calories), green peas pack an impressive nutritional punch. They deliver vitamins A, K, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, protein, and more.
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There are many ways to optimise the power of the pea, from soups to salads and beyond, but in Indian cuisine there are some dishes that celebrate this winter crop to its full potential.
Simple but always popular, Aloo Matar, a culinary gem, which marries the humble potato (referred to as "aloo") with the ever-popular peas ("matar" or "matar") in a rich, saucy curry. This culinary delight is also known as "aloo matar ki sabji" in Hindi. Hailing from the heart of Punjab, it combines tender green peas with potato chunks, all luxuriating in a spiced tomato-based gravy. This heartwarming dish is a source of comfort, often gracing dinner tables alongside fluffy roti or fragrant rice.
This beloved Bengali winter delicacy, takes a spicy pea filling and nestles it within dough pockets before deep-frying, giving birth to scrumptious flatbreads known as "kochuri" or "kachoris." Paired with an alluringly spicy potato curry, "aloo dum," or "cholar dal," it transforms into a regal meal, fit for a king. These deep-fried, puffed delights conceal a mouthwatering mixture of green peas and aromatic spices, offering a delightful and crunchy culinary experience.
Matar ka Nimona,is a seasonal culinary masterpiece crafted from fresh green peas during winter, a regional favourite in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. The green peas are meticulously ground into a paste and then skillfully melded with a symphony of spices, onions, and tomatoes. It resembles a dal, with some variations adding potatoes or lentil dumplings ("wadiyan"). The primary star of this dish is the vibrant freshness of the peas, making it imperative to use freshly harvested ones for an authentic and flavoursome experience.
Matar Bhaat, or Vatana Bhat, is an aromatic rice dish renowned in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. This delectable creation unites rice and verdant green peas, beautifully seasoned with spices such as cumin and mustard seeds. It is often accompanied by a dollop of yoghurt or a refreshing raita, elevating the dining experience.
Hara Bhara Kebab:
The Hara Bhara Kebab is a guilt-free, meatless delicacy composed of a medley of leafy and solid vegetables. This green-hued kebab serves as a healthy alternative to its greasy, animal-fat-laden meat-based counterparts. It's a palate-pleasing snack, particularly cherished by those mindful of their waistlines. Typically, it is served with a zesty mint-flavoured yoghurts dip, though it's equally delightful when savoured on its own.
Matar Chi Usal:
Matar Chi Usal, a delicacy from Maharashtra, stars tender green peas bathed in a spicy gravy infused with coconut and peanuts. This curry, known as Matar Usal, embodies the essence of Maharashtrian cuisine, offering a delightful balance of sweet and spicy flavours. Maharashtrians frequently incorporate sugar or powdered jaggery into many of their dals and curries, and this matar usal is no exception. It typically graces the dining table as a delectable side dish, harmonising with rice or traditional flatbreads.
Green Pea Sundal:
A special treat, especially cherished during the Navratri festival, Green Pea Sundal represents a South Indian snack or side dish prepared with green peas. The peas are artfully tempered with a medley of South Indian spices, green chillies, and ginger, then crowned with freshly grated coconut to create a delectable and wholesome dish. This culinary creation often takes centre stage during festivals, pleasing both the palate and the health-conscious.
Varutha Pattani, typically found as a bar snack, showcases fried green peas that deliver a gratifying, crunchy experience. Green peas are meticulously cooked, followed by a roasting or frying process that imparts a satisfying crunch. They are then tossed in a delightful array of masalas, resulting in an irresistible, chatpata bite that's sure to leave you craving more.