When you think of all the fresh and delicious produce available during winter, you probably don’t pay much attention at green peas. When in season, we use it in so many different dishes, but they aren’t usually the hero ingredient. This was the reason London-based chef Clare Smyth challenged chefs competing on Netflix’s The Final Table with English peas or green peas.
These brilliant green spheres add a beautiful colour and a sweet, mellow flavour to the dishes and hence, it is only fair to put the humble legume in the spotlight at least once before the season ends.
Green peas are a reliable source of omega-3 fats. These fresh legumes also contain iron, potassium, magnesium, proteins, zinc, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and C. These nutrients and minerals are known to facilitate better immunity, regulate blood sugar, and weight management.
Health benefits aside, green peas are one versatile ingredient and different parts of India have their unique way of enjoying this ingredient. Here’s a list of green pea dishes from across the country.
Come winter, Bengalis swear by this deep-fried, flaky bread. Its base is made with all-purpose flour, which is later divided into equal portions, stuffed with a savoury green pea filling, and rolled out into small circles. These kochuris are a vegetarian’s delight and are usually eaten with alu’r dom or chhola’r dal.
Also read: How to make Kachori – India’s favourite snack
Nimona is a spicy peas curry that is usually eaten with a puri, paratha, or steaming hot rice. It is made using mashed green peas, potatoes, tomatoes, and minimal spices such as red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder. This winter special treat isn’t one of those that travel straight from the kitchen to your plate. A bowl of nimona is about shelling peas in the winter sun with your mother/grandmother, while they tell you their childhood stories.
Another interesting peas’ curry to try in winter is the Kashmiri gucchi and matar. Gucchi is morel mushroom from the foothills of Himalayas known for its spongy, honeycombed head. These mushrooms and green peas are cooked together in a saffron gravy. This gravy is made using tomato puree, onions, ginger-garlic paste, cashew paste, and spices such as red chilli powder, cardamom powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder. The dish is finished off with a generous dash of fresh lemon juice.
Aloo matar is the ultimate comfort food, especially in north India. It’s a mildly-spiced curry made with fresh green peas, potatoes, and tomatoes; finished off with a dash of lemon juice. The curry is best accompanied with steamed rice and ghee; however, many prefer it with puris and chapatis too.
To say the least, gajar matar is a celebration of winter’s fresh produce. It is a dry sabzi made with red carrots and green peas. Chef Ajay Thakur, head chef at Hitchki in Mumbai, says “It is a staple at all the small establishments—bhojanalayas and dhabas—across Delhi during the season and is enjoyed with parathas. Its USP is the combination of flavours it comes loaded with. Carrots and peas give it a mellow sweet flavour, while the amchur (dry mango) powder lends a tartness to the dish.”
Mangal Kangtak is a Manipuri-style fresh green peas curry, which is flavoured with red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. What makes this vegetarian dish different from peas curries from other parts of the country is the addition of fenugreek leaves (fresh or dried, as per your preference) and chives.
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