Every winter, I eagerly wait for fresh green peas or matar to hit the markets. There is something charming about green peas when they are in season – they are sweet and tender and absolutely beautiful. Even the process of shelling them is therapeutic! They are one of my most favourite winter veggies, and I love adding them to various dishes throughout the season. One of the eternal loves in our family is Green Peas Masala or Matar Masala.
A closer look at Green Peas Masala, the way I make it
Green Peas Masala refers to a North Indian gravy-based curry made using peas. Most restaurant versions of this curry are made using dried green peas, but I prefer using fresh ones. There’s a melt-in-the-mouth quality to seasonal fresh green peas that just can’t be achieved with the dried ones. The curry tastes absolutely flavourful when fresh green peas are used – frozen ones come close but aren’t the real deal.
I don’t use any cream in my Green Peas Masala, nor curd or milk. It is made with very little oil too. In fact, I keep it very simple, with the bare minimum of ingredients used. It still turns out super delicious and creamy, I say, and makes for a great accompaniment to rotis, naan or parathas. It tastes just as good as a restaurant or dhaba version, if I may say so myself.
My version of Green Peas Masala is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is entirely gluten-free too.
How to make Green Peas Masala or Matar Masala
Here is how I make it.
Ingredients (serves 4):
To pressure cook:
- 3 cups shelled green peas
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 medium-sized tomatoes
- 1 small onion
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- A 1-inch piece of ginger
5. 10 whole cashewnuts
- 1/2 tablespoon oil
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Red chilli powder to taste
- 1/2 cup water or as needed
- 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
- 1 teaspoon chana masala
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
- 1/2 tablespoon kasoori methi
1. Take the shelled green peas in a wide vessel. Add in 1/2 cup of water. Pressure cook on high flame for 2 whistles or till the peas are cooked through, but not overly mushy. Let the pressure release naturally.
2. In the meantime, we will prepare the paste required for the Green Peas Masala. Peel the ginger, garlic and onion. Chop the ginger and onion roughly. Chop the tomatoes roughly too. Grind the chopped ginger, onion, tomatoes along with the garlic cloves and cashewnuts together to a smooth paste. Do not add any water. Keep aside.
3. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked green peas out. Keep ready.
4. Now, we will start making the Green Peas Masala. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the cumin seeds, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
5. Add the tomato-onion paste we prepared earlier, to the pan. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the raw smell of the ingredients goes away. The paste will start to thicken.
6. Still keeping the flame at medium, add in salt and red chilli powder to taste and jaggery powder. Also add in the cooked green peas, along with the water they were cooked in. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes.
7. Add in the garam masala and chana masala. Also add in 1/2 cup of water or as needed to adjust consistency. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 2 more minutes or till the mixture thickens and comes together as a whole. Switch off gas when the mixture is still a bit runny.
8. Rub the kasoori methi between the palms of your hands, and add it to the pan. Also add in the finely chopped coriander. Mix well. Your Green Peas Masala is now ready. Serve hot or warm with rotis, naan or parathas.
#WinterVeggies Special at Foodie Monday Blog Hop
I’m sharing this recipe with you all, in association with Foodie Monday Blog Hop.
The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. #WinterVeggies is the group theme this week, wherein all of us are sharing our favourite dishes made using winter vegetables.
When Sasmita of First Timer Cook suggested the theme for this Monday, I jumped with joy because winter veggies are highly beloved to me. I’m loving the winter-special vegan, gluten-free Beetroot Carrot Soup that Sasmita wrote about a couple of days ago. I can’t wait to try it out!
Tips & Tricks
1. You can use dried green peas, instead of the fresh ones. In that case, soak the dried green peas for 8-10 hours or overnight, then cook them in enough water for 4-5 whistles. Then, proceed to make the Green Peas Masala, as per the above recipe.
2. I find that a mix of chana masala and garam masala gives a better flavour. You can use only chana masala or garam masala either, too. I have used home-made chana masala and garam masala here.
3. ‘Nati’ (country) tomatoes give a much better flavour to this curry as compared to the ‘farm’ ones.
4. Use as much water as needed, to adjust the consistency of the curry. Remember to stop cooking when the curry is still on the runnier side. It thickens up further upon cooling.
5. Adjust the quantity of jaggery as per personal taste preferences. I would not suggest skipping it. It does not make the curry overly sweet, but rounds off the other flavours nicely.
6. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder, garam masala and chana masala as per personal taste preferences.
7. Fresh green peas, especially when in season, work best in this curry. However, if you don’t have access to them, frozen green peas work well too.
8. Some fresh cream can be added to the curry, too. You may also add in some milk while adding the cooked green peas. I have not used either.
9. I have used cashewnuts here to thicken the gravy. You can use almonds instead, too. A mix of cashewnuts and almonds can be used too.
10. It is important to saute the tomato-onion paste well till the raw smell of the ingredients completely goes away. Add in the cooked green peas only after this.
11. You can add in whole spices like cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves along with the cumin seeds. I usually don’t, as I keep this curry really simple.
12. The green peas can steamed, instead of pressure cooking them as I have done here. Remember to cook them till they are done, but they should not get overly mushy.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!