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


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)

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.

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

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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Few Baking Pans and A Mamiya

July 4th Weekend Shopping:

We have been looking for these things for a while and this weekend got lucky. Vijay got his camera from an online store and I got my cute baking pans at local flea market, both at great prices. Here they are - baking pans and a Mamiya.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday July 3, 2006 at 4:40 pm- permalink)
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Bhakthi ~ Bhukthi (SV Temple and Temple Food)

Sri Venkateswara Temple, Pittsburgh and Swarna Ratham

Temple food is the best way to enjoy traditional Indian food and no restaurant can match the taste and the quality. In Pittsburgh, the SV Temple canteen is open during temple hours and has a small kitchen and big dining hall to the side. The food is freshly prepared daily by the temple chef. The standard items you would find are - pulihora, yogurt rice, sambar rice, upma, pongal, mixture: sweet&hot varieties and also pickles. There is also a machine, where you can make your own tea and coffee.

The canteen has a separate entrance and open to all. Everything is priced very reasonable ($1.50, a box). My favorites are pongal, upma and mixture and I always buy them whenever I visit temple. Because of recent increase in number of people visiting this temple, temple management is fund-raising to build a more modern and big kitchen and also planning to include more items to serve.

Summer is the travel season here in US and temples are the most common tourist destinations to lot of folks like us. Our visits to temple are not only for divine darshan and also for homely dining. So thought I would share about SV Temple food. Bhakthi and bukthi fulfilled at the same time.

Temple Canteen

Yogurt Rice, Pulihora, Upma, Mixture, Pickle, Pongal and Sambar Rice

Bhakthi & Bhukthi - For Summer Travel:
Do you have a temple in your town/city? Join and share “Bhakthi and Bukthi” (divine and dine), experience, if you are interested, at your blogs. Thanks!
Temple Food: Ganesha Temple, Flushing, NY

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Bhakthi~Bhukthi (Sunday July 2, 2006 at 4:24 pm- permalink)
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Sunnundalu(Urad Dal Laddu)~Indian Sweets 101


When Sailaja of Sailu’s Food selected dals to feature this month’s Jihva For Ingredients, I was ecstatic. The one and only ingredient that truly represents India is the variety of dals, in my opinion. There are rice states and there are wheat states, but common to all 28 states in India are dals. Each state has dazzling array of dal dishes both sweet and savory. Menus always include dal dishes for everyday, for celebrations and as well as for festivals. Even in a foreign land, our meals always would include dals in one way or other. It’s not stretching the truth, when I say dal dishes are the true heart and soul food of India.

By the way, if you haven’t been to Sailaja’s blog already, please go visit now. She blogs from calm, coastal city of Vishakapatnam by the Bay of Bengal, from my home state Andhra Pradesh. Her recipes are visual delight and pure gold. Whenever I visit her blog, I feel happy to see her creations and also feel nostalgic about what I am missing being away from home.

As an entry to JFI~Dals, I have prepared Sunniundalu, a traditional Andhra sweet. Roasted urad dal is ground with sugar into super fine sand like powder, mixed with pure ghee, and the mixture is shaped into round balls. This sweet is much beloved because of its unique taste and nutritional value. These are often prepared for special occasions like baby showers (srimantham) etc., I am so happy that I am able to recreate this favorite sweet of mine for JFI, an event created to celebrate the natural ingredients.

(for 15 medium-sized laddus)

3 cups of whole urad dal - roasted to golden color slowly and on low heat, continuously stirring in a big iron skillet
1½ cups of sugar
1 cup of melted ghee at room temperature
For grinding - esirayyi (grain mill) or Food processor
How this sweet tastes, 50 percent, depends on grinding method. Old world stone grain-grinder is the traditional method of choice. High powered, sharp bladed, food processor comes close. Whatever machine/method you use, the end product must be like fine sand.

Whole urad dal - Roasted to light gold color
Whole urad dal - Roasted to light gold color

Grinding urad dal and sugar to superfine sand like powder using a grain mill
Grinding urad dal and sugar to superfine sand like powder using a grain mill

Adding melted ghee to the urad dal-sugar powder
Adding melted ghee to the urad dal-sugar powder

Urad dal-sugar powder and ghee mixture being made into laddus
Urad dal-sugar powder and ghee mixture being made into laddus.

Indian Sweets 101 ~ Sunnundalu for JFI-Dals

Many thanks to Sailaja for hosting this month’s Jihva For Ingredients. I am sure the roundup of this event is going to be spectacular. The entries that I have seen so far - Munthirikkotthu (Sweet Moong Dal Balls), Dal Podi Sushi Roll (Indianized Sushi roll), Mid-Eastern Mujadarah (rice-lentil dish) and Azuki paste ravioli in caramel sauce make this obvious. Have a fun and happy dal day on this July 4th weekend, everyone!

Grain mill brand Name: PORKERT’s Kitchen Grinding Mill, Type 150
Purchased at a clearance sale from Tuesday Morning.
Sailu’s Sunnundalu - Link

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Sugar, Ghee, Urad Dal (Washed), Indian Sweets 101, Jihva For Ingredients (Saturday July 1, 2006 at 12:02 am- permalink)
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