The vibrant and flavourful cuisine of Uttar Pradesh never fails to impress us. Right from breakfast to lunch, dinner and desserts, you’ll find plenty of dishes to choose from and each one will carry its own unique taste. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are in close proximity to each other and therefore, a number of times their culture and cuisine tends to coincide. If you think it is just the major meals of the day are important in these households, we must tell you that the evening fare is no less than a treat either. Fried snacks like samosas, kachoris and pakoras make way on the tray along with cups of hot tea. The cultural values in these regions is such that people usually prefer to make dishes at home rather than ordering out during festive season, especially mithais. 

There’s something for everyone here, be it the pure vegetarians or the hard-core meat lovers. Lucknow is the royal city in the state of UP that offers Awadhi flavours, including the galouti and kakori kebabs. You’ll find keema, gosht and a wide array of luscious meaty curries from their fare. Then there are others like Allahabad, known as Prayagraj today, which has a special Tehri that is usually cooked for lunch in homes. Similar to a pulao, lots of vegetables are mixed together to prepare this one rice dish that can surely feature as a comfort food. This reminds us of another popular dish from UP that is often prepared for lunch. We’re talking about nimona. 

Nimona, for those untouched by the phenomenon, is a lunch curry cum soup that is commonly eaten during the day. Believed to have originated in Benaras, it is referred to as Benarasi Nimona. The thin and spicy curry is often treated as a winter staple but can be eaten during summers too. Made with peas, the matar nimona is all things tasty and wholesome. During winters, since greens are in season and recommended to be eaten, palak ka nimona is also prepared. 

While the fresh seasonal peas work best in a nimona, frozen peas can be used when they aren’t in season. The classic matar nimona recipe has mashed peas and mangoris in it. Mangoris, for the unversed, are fritters made from urad dal. These crispy chunks are dunked into the curry and combined with the peas to add zest and crunchiness to the soupy curry. 

However, we’ll tell you another interesting way of preparing nimona at home. To begin with, prepare a smooth paste with coriander seeds, ginger and garlic. Next, take some of the peas and blend them together with water for another thick paste. Roast the remaining peas in a pre-heated pan with mustard oil. Then dice potatoes into cubes and fry them until golden-brown. After these initial steps are done, you are all set to make the curry. Temper spices like amchur powder, coriander seeds, red chillies and more in a pan with mustard oil. Take the peas paste and add it to the pan. Cook it all well with some water and spruce with garam masala, salt and turmeric powder. Throw in the roasted peas and fried potatoes. 

Pour some water and cook all of this together with the lid covered. Once it starts spluttering, it means your nimona is ready. Serve hot with some rice and enjoy. 

Here’s the detailed recipe for you to devour.