Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Fresh Peas of Spring ~ Peas Pulao


I walked to Pike Place Market this morning and came home with two pounds of fresh peas. I sat for some time thinking about what to prepare and the following recipe is what I came up with for our meal today.

Added basmati rice and salt to water. Steam-cooked the rice to tender.

While rice was cooking, I shelled the peas from the pods. I separated about a cup of plump peas for this recipe. Heated a skillet. Added a teaspoon of peanut oil. When the oil was hot enough, added a teaspoon of Mandira’s panch phoran mix. Toasted the spices for couple of seconds. Then added the fresh peas, quarter cup of finely chopped mint leaves for fragrance and a pinch of black pepper for some heat. Slow simmered the whole thing in quarter cup of very diluted homemade coconut milk for about five minutes.

By then the rice was ready. Added the Pea-panch phoran mix from the skillet to the rice. Mixed and served it with cucumber raita.

Thanks to the Basmati, panch phoran and mint presence, the fresh peas of spring season radiated comfortable glow of self-appreciation. I loved my meal today.


Peas Pulao with Fresh Peas and Panch Phoran
(for two persons, for two meals)

1½ cups basmati rice + 3 cups water + quarter teaspoon salt
Skillet
1 teaspoon - peanut oil
1 teaspoon- panch phoran mix
1 cup - freshly shelled, plump peas
¼ cup - finely chopped mint leaves
¼ teaspoon - crushed black pepper
¼ cup - coconut milk (homemade or store-bought)

(Panch Phoran is a Bengali/Oriya spice mix made of Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek, Mustard and Nigella seeds. Take the seeds in almost equal quantity. Mix and store in a spice box. That’s panch phoran.)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Basmati Rice, Peas (Bataani) (Friday May 16, 2008 at 5:12 pm- permalink)
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Batani (Vatana) Sprouts ~ Green and Yellow

Green and Yellow Pea Sprouts
Green and Yellow Pea Sprouts ~ for This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Yellow peas split are marketed as yellow split peas. And, yellow split peas are neither toor dal nor chana dal.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Peas (Bataani), Sprouts (Molakalu), Peas (whole) (Sunday July 22, 2007 at 9:13 pm- permalink)
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Weekend Garden ~ Pea Flower

Pea Flower
Pretty and Frail ~ Pea Flower

English Peas, Green Pea Vine

Flowers in Food Blog World:

A Rosie Delight ~ Gulkhand
Mango Flowers and More ~ From Bharat
Onion Flowers
Radish Flowers

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peas (Bataani) (Saturday July 7, 2007 at 7:07 pm- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Matar Paneer with Fresh Summer Peas

Plump and firm, fresh peas of summer are a sight to behold. Bouncing out of pods, with that smooth pearly finish in pleasant green and warm sheen, they seem fit for a necklace rather than that endless pit we call stomach.

After the classic south Indian style Guggullu, the next best recipe with freshly shelled peas is the famous north Indian specialty called “Matar Paneer”. Matar means Peas in Hindi language. There are so many different ways to prepare this recipe. Mass produced for buffet, the much-maligned style with frozen peas is sadly how most people get acquainted with matar paneer. Over-cooked in overtly-spiced sauces, poor peas and paneer would evoke pity instead of poignant piquancy. Even the hardcore buffet connoisseurs can’t help but pass the peas. Thus punished, the curry remains in the pan, to spend the night in refrigerator feeling the onion raita’s aroma, all to face another day of reheating and rejection. The sob story of restaurant style matar paneer is truly pull-at-the-heartstrings, tearjerker of bollywood.

In contrast, the home-style version is an Indian housewife’s summer romance with sweet peas. It’s a joyous celebration of nature’s bounty. Fresh cow or buffalo milk churned to paneer, a cup of peas freshly shelled from the pods, few tomatoes plucked from the vines - if you stop and think for a minute, it’s easy to imagine how the recipe originated and the reason it got so famous. A treat for dulled taste buds as well as a sight for sore eyes, fresh peas of summer make matar paneer a pleasure to savor.


Peas, Paneer, Tomatoes and Cashews ~ Ingredients for Matar Paneer

Recipe:

1 cup fresh shelled peas
½ cup each - paneer cubes and roasted cashews
4 tomatoes and 1 onion - finely sliced
1 tablespoon - ginger, garlic and cilantro (GGC) paste
1 tablespoon - clove,cinnamon,coriander and cumin (CCCC) powder
½ tsp each - salt and turmeric (or to taste)
¼ tsp - chilli powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon oil

Grind roasted cashews to fine powder in a mixer or spice grinder.

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add and saute finely chopped onions till translucent. Add the GGC paste, cook for few seconds. Next, tomatoes turn. Cook them till they turn to mush when pressed with the back of spoon. After spoon-mushing tomatoe pieces, stir in cashew powder, CCCC powder, salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Also green peas and paneer cubes. Add about a cup of water. Mix and simmer covered for about five to ten minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Enjoy with rice, parathas or chapatis.


Matar Paneer with Parathas and Cucumber Raita ~ Enjoying the Goodness of Seasonal Vegetables

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Paneer, Tomato, Cashews, Peas (Bataani) (Thursday June 28, 2007 at 9:02 pm- permalink)
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Pongal with Green Pearls

We, Indians could learn so much from Italians when it comes to food marketing, I think. Take for example, - they have risotto, we have pongal. There are thousands of articles, recipes written on risotto. Good, old fashioned risotto, risotto with saffron, risotto with that, risotto with this… the list goes on and on. It’s easy to apply the same thing to pongal. The basic recipe never changes but by adding fresh seasonal produce like fresh peas or asparagus etc, it’s possible to rekindle the interest in centuries-old pongal recipe. Of course we also need excellent writers, poets and photographers to create that harp effect, a swooning, spiritual experience at the mere utterance of “Pongal”. Few movie scenes where the hero adoringly feeds the heroine a spoonful of creamy pongal would also help.

We have golden recipes, excellent technique. What we lack is co-coordinated, full throttle marketing. Inspired tactics used with savvy and creativity could not only resurrect genuine interest plus prestige in the preservation and application of the food traditions, they would also benefit the farmers back in the country, in my view.

Here is my humble effort.


Green Pearls ~ Fresh Peas of Summer

Brimming with that glorious just-off-the vine sweet flavor, the fresh peas of summer make a succulent addition to the classic, creamy pongal recipe. Easy to prepare and full of flavor, pongal with fresh peas make a pleasing meal any time of the day.

Recipe:

1 tablespoon - ghee
1 teaspoon each - black peppercorn, cumin and cloves
8 fresh curry leaves
½ cup - yellow moong dal
1 cup - shelled fresh green peas
1 cup - Sona Masuri rice
6 cups - water
1 teaspoon - salt or to taste

Melt ghee in a big saucepan on medium heat. Coarsely crush peppercorn, cumin and cloves in a mortar or in a spice mill and add to the ghee. Also add the curry leaves. Saute them gently for a minute or so.

Add the yellow moong dal. Continuously mixing, saute the dal to pale-pink color. At this stage add fresh green peas. Cook couple of minutes. Stir in Sona Masuri rice along with water and salt.

Bring the water to a boiling point on high heat. Once the water and rice start to dance, reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer, mixing in-between until the rice is cooked to soft.

Turn off the heat, and add a last spoonful of water (or ghee, if you can afford it healthwise).

Leave to stand for 2-3 minutes then stir. Serve hot with chutney/kurma or yogurt.


Heaven in a Plate:Pongal with Fresh Peas and Peanut Chutney ~ Weekend Supper

Recipe Notes:
All about Sona Masuri Rice - here
Pongal is good with chutneys, pickles, tomato based kurmas, coconut based curries and plain homemade yogurt.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Sona Masuri Rice, Moong Dal (Washed), Ghee, Peas (Bataani) (Monday June 11, 2007 at 12:31 am- permalink)
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Scrumptious Sabjis ~ Methi Matar Malai

Here is an easy meal idea that will taste like you spent hours in the kitchen, when in reality all you would need to do is pluck few leaves, open few packets and grind some masala paste. 10 minutes in front of the stove, the result would be a very comforting creamy curry that is appropriate for family meal or a gathering of friends.

Speaking of friends get-togethers, we were invited a potluck party yesterday and I prepared some sweets with homemade malai. I kept a small cup of malai to the side to prepare this scrumptious sabji today. Store bought evaporated milk or concentrated almond milk/rice milk also works for this recipe. Give it a try.


from Hindi to English - Methi (Fenugreek), Matar (Peas) and Malai (Cream)

Recipe:

Fresh fenugreek leaves (methi) - 1 cup
Fresh peas (matar) - 1 cup
Malai (cream) - half cup
(homemade or store-bought evaporated milk - unsweetened variety)
2 red potatoes - peeled and cubed to bite sized pieces
Salt and turmeric to taste or half teaspoon each
Peanut oil or ghee - one teaspoon

Masala paste: One small red onion or shallot, one inch size ginger, six green chillies, two cloves, one inch piece of cinnamon stick, one teaspoon cumin and quarter cup of fresh peas (peas are added to thicken the sauce) - Grind to smooth consistency by adding half cup of water in a blender.

Heat oil in a wide skillet.

Add and saute the masala paste for 5 minutes on medium heat until the paste starts to turn red.

Now add one after another, first potatoes, then fenugreek leaves and finally peas. Do a quick stir-fry until the leaves wilt.

Add malai (evaporated milk). Stir in salt and turmeric and about 1 cup of water. (I also added a half teaspoon of jaggery which helps to bring out the sweetness of peas. But this is optional.) Cover and cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat until potatoes and peas are cooked to tender and the sauce thickens. Serve warm. Tastes superb with chapatis or with naans.

My latest find is garlic naan from frozen section of Trader Joe’s. One packet is priced at 2 dollars and contains 4 good sized naans which are prepared in India and vacuum packed. We just have to heat them on stove-top or in oven. The flour, the layers, the garlic topping - very flavorful and quality stuff. Well, they are from India. Need I say more?

Methi Matar Malai with Garlic Naan
Methi Matar Malai with Garlic Naan ~ Our Meal Today

Recipe adapted from Vee’s Past, Present and Me

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Milk, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Baby Potatoes, Peas (Bataani) (Thursday February 15, 2007 at 2:31 pm- permalink)
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Nimona

Fresh Green Peas of Summer

Sometime back while surfing the web, I came across a recipe with fresh green peas and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I had book-marked the site and also printed a copy, just incase the website disappeard. What attracted me to this recipe were the introductory words - “fresh green peas, strictly home-fare, and Awadh”. Also, more than anything, I loved the recipe name-”Nimona”. How pretty!

The recipe is from this website, dedicated to Awadh (The cuisine of Lucknow, India). I am not sure who wrote this particular recipe, but this unknown author’s description of nimona captivated me. Here is the author’s introduction to Nimona.

“The cuisine of any region is incomplete unless the contribution of the housewife or home-cooking is mentioned. So it is with Awadh. Besides the contribution of bawarchis and halwais there are recipes handed down through generations by grannies which lend that special something to the food. Regional cuisine lives in the home kitchens, and Nimona is one such example of strictly home-fare. Cooked in winters with fresh green peas, spring onions and mungories or wadis which are spiced and dehydrated lentil dumplings, it is a delectable dish. Some people like to substitute green peas with green chick-peas which are available in spring and are equally tasty.”

June and July are fresh pea season here in Ohio and I bought few pounds of fresh peas keeping this recipe in mind. I tried to get ‘mungories‘ or wadis from local Indian store, but they never even heard of them. So I replaced them with new crop potatoes. The recipe is multistep, little bit time consuming and the end result is - Fresh green peas and potato cubes in pureed green pea-onion-tomato sauce. Fantastic!

Here is my version of Nimona:

Step 1 - Prep Work:
(Things needed: skillet, oil/ghee and a blender/mortar)

Peas:
2 cups of freshly shelled peas. Separate one cup of peas and keep them aside. Puree the second cup of peas into coarse mixture by adding a pinch of asafetida. Saute this coarse mixture of peas for few minutes, (to remove the raw smell).

Onions, ginger, garlic and cilantro:
Finely chop 2 onions length-wise, saute them in oil until golden and brown. Add 3 garlic cloves, one inch of ginger and few sprigs of cilantro and together make a paste.

Tomatoes:
Chop 4 tomatoes into chunks; saute them on high heat for few minutes. Make a smooth paste.

Potatoes:
3 potatoes - peel, cube and saute them for few minutes and keep aside.

Masala Powder:
2 cloves, 2 cardamom pods and one small cinnamon stick - powdered together

Step 2: Cooking them all together

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a big pan. Add the following items listed below in that order and Saute:
2 bay leaves
Onion-ginger-garlic paste
Tomato paste
Coarsely ground green peas
One cup of fresh peas that were kept aside
Potato cubes
Cloves- cinnamon- cardamom powder
½ tsp each, or to taste - turmeric, salt and red chilli powder
Add about 1 cup of water. Mix and close the lid. Simmer for about 15 minutes on medium heat, until the curry thickens. Switch off the heat and let the curry sit for half an hour to absorb the flavors. Serve warm with chapati or rice.

Nimona with Chapatis
Nimona with Chapatis

More about Awadh (Cuisine of Lucknow): Here
Recipes from Awadh Cuisine: Here
Photo of ‘mungories’ or ‘wadi’ - from Green Jackfruit

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Onions, Peas (Bataani) (Wednesday July 5, 2006 at 2:55 pm- permalink)
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Fresh Peas of Summer & Guggullu

Fresh Green Peas of Summer

Though I enjoy vegetable shopping, I rarely get excited about it. Squeals and mile length smiles - I reserve them for rare finds like fresh plump pea pods. Late June is fresh pea time here in Ohio. Though peas are always found in frozen grocery section, I miss the taste and experience of shelling the fresh peas out of pods. This was one of those cherished practices from my Indian days.

We often hear that frozen veggies are same as fresh ones. Freshly shelled peas prove in a bite that it’s not true. Frozen peas do start out as fresh but all that freezing temperature and the ugly plastic wrap, bumping from one warehouse to another, finally when we open the packet - they would come out all shriveled up and lie there listless, looking at us ‘daya karo’ (merci). At that stage, I guess they are like us at the end of our lives - spent up but full of saccharine wisdom. In contrast the peas that are freshly shelled from fat pods are like cherubic faced babies, all plump and round, bouncing and rolling around. Full of energy and life force, tempting us to get hold of them. For that unforgettable sweet pea taste we would do just that.

Here in US, the capital of all things frozen, finding these green gems fresh is almost like buying emerald Cabs. So precious, so few and so pricey! Last Sunday I got lucky and bought 3 pounds of fresh peas for about 5 dollars, from the local farmers market. After the indulgence, what left was a cup of shelled peas and I have prepared Guggullu with them. Just a simple 5-minute saut? of green peas with finely chopped red onions pieces. Touch of black pepper, salt and fresh grated coconut, they are done. Quick and great tasting traditional Indian recipe to enjoy fresh green peas.

Batani Guggullu (Fresh Peas Summer Salad)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Peas (Bataani) (Tuesday June 27, 2006 at 11:44 pm- permalink)
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