Tag Archives: peas

First among equals -Potato and Peas Poha

I should probably create a special category for  the recipes of the things that the girls like  most and are happy to eat as often as I’ll make them, such as varan, upma, grilled salmon with pesto, any fish baked with a provencal marinade (made of oil, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs) etc.

And poha surely would be the first among those equals.

This is another dish that I learned to cook from my mother-in-law.

Indira, especially, loves it like she does nothing else. So today, when I wanted to persuade Indira to come home for lunch (Noor was going to eat with me anyway, because she has a bad cold and I wanted her to stay at home after lunch to have a nap) because I was worried she would not eat well in the school cantine due to an aching tooth and a mouth ulcer, I suggested that I could make poha. She was quick to agree after that !

With a very few modifications – such as the addition of ginger – the recipe that follows is faithful to Ma’s.

It is food that soothes the soul 🙂

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Potato and Peas Poha

3 big handfuls of poha, washed under cold running water and left to drain in a colander for about 15-25 minutes

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced very fine (alternatively, you could use potatoes that have been boiled till soft)

2 medium sized onions, chopped very fine

1/2 to 3/4 cup of shelled, frozen peas

a handful of fresh green coriander, chopped fine

1/2 or 1 tsp of grated ginger

salt to taste

3/4 tsp of turmeric powder

1 tsp of mustard seeds

5-6 curry leaves

In a large frying pan, heat 4-5 tablespoons of oil, then add the mustard seeds. When these start to crackle, add the curry leaves and fry these for a few seconds. Now add the potatoes, reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook the potatoes till they are a little more than half done.

Add the onions, and fry with the potatoes till they are very soft and translucent. Now add the grated ginger and peas, and cook for some more time till the peas appear cooked. Add the poha (after sprinkling a little water on it, and salt) and stir everything together. Cover the pan and leave to cook till the poha is quite soft, uncovering the pan periodically (you will need to do this 3-5 times before the poha is soft enough) to sprinkle a little water over the poha and turning it over well so that it cooks evenly.

Stir in the coriander, and eat it while it is still hot.

This is a basic poha, and tastes wonderful with some plain yoghurt and pickle. Different cooks make it and serve it in many other ways, such as adding other vegetables, serving it with a little sev,  lime juice and/or sugar, etc.

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Filed under Breakfast Ideas, Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Starters and Snacks

Matar Paneer

I was delighted to see how much the girls enjoyed this too, last weekend.

Matar Paneer

For the paneer:

1 liter of whole milk

125 gms of whisked yoghurt

2-3 tablespoons of lime juice

For the gravy:

2 small onions, chopped very fine

2 large tomatoes

½ a tsp, or a little more, of grated ginger

2 large cloves of garlic, grated

½ a tsp of cumin seeds

½ a tsp or a little more, of coriander powder

½ a tsp of turmeric

½ a tsp of kashmiri red chilli powder

½ a tsp of garam masala powder

1 or 2 tbsp of cashew nuts, roughly crushed (this is an optional ingredient)

salt to taste

3-4 tbsp of sunflower oil

1 cup of frozen, shelled peas

To make the paneer, boil the milk in a thick-bottomed pan. When it has come to a full boil, turn the heat down very low, add the yoghurt and the lime juice, and stir these in thoroughly till the paneer begins to form. Now drain the paneer through a sieve that has been lined with a large, fine piece of cloth. Keep some of the whey by collecting it in a vessel placed under the sieve. You can use this later to add to the curry; some say it adds to the taste, and it is full of good things anyway.

Place the cloth with the paneer in it carefully on a large chopping board, and form it carefully in to a large square shape. Fold the cloth over this, and press the paneer down with a heavy weight (typically a large vessel full of water) that places uniform pressure on all parts of the paneer’s surface, for 20-30 minutes, so that all the excess water drains out and the paneer becomes firm. When the panner seems set, cut it in to 1/2 ” or 1″ squares.

Make a fine paste of the cashew nuts. To do this, first boil them in 1/3 cup of water for 7-8 minutes, then grind them fine either with a hand-held blender or manually with a rolling pin (this is messier though).

Boil the tomatoes in a little bit of water till the skin starts to break. When the tomatoes have cooled, peel off the skin and puree the tomatoes.

To make the curry, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the cumin seeds, and when these start to release their aroma put the onions in. Fry these till they start to turn golden brown, then add the ginger and the garlic and fry for another minute. Then add the cashew nut paste and fry the mixture till the onions turn a darkish brown. Now add the tomato puree and cook till everything is well-blended and the puree starts to dry. Add the spices and fry for a further minute. Finally, add the peas, salt to taste, and fry everything together for a few minutes. Now add a cup or a little more of the whey or boiled water, and pressure cook the curry for 5-7 minutes.

When the cooker has cooled enough for you to be able to open it easily, add the paneer pieces and simmer the curry for a little while so that the gravy is not runny.

For an everyday version of this curry, I skip the cashew nuts, and I use them only for a more formal meal like Saturday’s; they add a slightly sweet, and quite rich taste.

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Filed under Curries