Monday, June 7, 2010

Green Peas Curry /Stew – Peas and Veggies in a mild coconut milk gravy..!!

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I made this dish when I was 21..I was all alone then..miles away from home...away from my mom who used to cook all those great tasting food for me..I had just started working,fresh out of college and was in a different state ,staying in a home as a PG along with an equally tortured roommate A ,who later became my best friend..Just like what today's dish is ,we were two peas in a pod and had all good and bad times together..When we started our life away from home ,we were just depressed with all the crap they fed at cafeterias and restaurants near office..So,out of the cries of our tummy and pure glutton and haunting nostalgic memories about all those good food that we had back home,we started cooking.We had the house owner's kitchen for our own..yeah,they were kind enough to let us use it and even some of their utensils as we were struggling spinsters ,just starting our life away from home..and in turn we always saw to it that we kept it clean all the time..:)
So usually we would rush home after our office..do our grocery purchase from the small shop near home..have tea and a pack of Maggi..sit back ,gossip,put some good films on buffer(streaming for slow net connection) to see later and laze for a while.Then will hit the kitchen and start our experiments..I used to be more keen to experiment than A and she would happily assist me in cooking and would enthusiastically nod and give thumbs up for whatever I make..I still remember ,initially I used to make sambar without coriander powder and even that was like 'tastiest ever' for us..:)..Then one day ,I was introduced to the magic world of blogging and food blogs by my sweetheart and I started learning and trying..I accomplished that inexplicable zest to try out various dishes,mainly of our cuisine..different combination of spices..new aroma's..joy that I could actually whip up something edible..I fervently tried out a different recipe every day...Weekends we would wake up late,slog on our bundles of clothes, do long hour baths,make traditional elaborate meals with non veg which we would dig in way past noon time ,till we are too full to move and then will doze off in the hot humid evenings chatting this and that..After dinner,worried about our widening figures,we would go for short walks through street light lit roads in front of our home taking occasional breaks on dividers ,enjoying the cool breeze ,singing and sometimes doing rounds of walking n running competitions..Cooking and food were our pleasures..Trial and error happened always..but mostly,we both were happy with what we made and had a great time in our lives..Thanks A for being with me then..luv ya..:)
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So,this dish ..when I cooked it then,was an instant hit.I got the recipe from Amma that time and since it had minimum ingredients and there was nothing to fuss with the teaspoons and tablespoons of masala's(spices),it sounded perfect for us then and it clicked.Amma used to make it for our breakfast with soft lacy Appams..The aunty ji there ,our house-owner was mighty impressed by this dish and I had to cook it for her once when she had guests…I guess she was fascinated by the coconut milk and all those ingredients which they never used.Our Kerala recipes were a revelation to her and she loved that typical spiciness and tanginess of our cuisine..especially,the fish curry and all..When I left that place for good,she said she will miss my experiments and dishes,and now I miss the place too..It was a great home,a relieving resort to me after some ordeals that life threw at me then and a place where strong bonds of friendship and great memories etched in heart were formed..:)
If you are like me,if you like ..no..lovvvee.. plump shiny green peas..its flavor ,then dont hesitate..Go ahead and give it a shot.There is not much complications in this recipe and the taste of peas and some spices in mild and rich coconut milk is what it is.You can always add carrot,potatoes and beans to make it a mixed veggie curry..But am crazy about peas and mostly use it alone or with a carrot or two which just gives a sweetish flavor and some brightness to the dish.
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Please pretty please..DONT use FROZEN peas..they are darn things with absolutely no flavor and never cooks well..all you get is a squishy thing..I don't even know why in the heavens people use that..What a waste of precious peas..I have not had the luck to try fresh peas,so I cant comment on that.The best thing is to rehydrate dried peas.Soak peas in water overnight and you get those shiny green pearls to relish..:)
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Ingredients
1.5 Cups Rehydrated dried peas
1 long juicy carrot (optional..potatoes,beans etc too)
1 onion sliced long and thin
1 large plump tomato
3-4 spicy thai green chillies
A lot of curry leaves
2 inch stick of cinnamon
3 crushed cardamom pods
3 cloves
1 small star anise
1/2 +1/2 Tbsp coarsely crushed pepper
2 fat cloves of garlic minced/grated
1 inch piece of ginger julienned
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
2 C very thin coconut milk
1/2 C thick Coconut milk
Cilantro chopped & a tsp dry roasted kasuri methi (optional)
Ghee/coconut oil
Method
You can do the entire process in Pressure cooker,which is easy and quick,but the keep an eye out or else peas may go all soft and mushy.To use a pan is a safe option.
Heat ghee/oil in cooker/pan and add the whole spices including 1/2 tbsp crushed pepper,curry leaves and roast till all fragrant.
Pop in the ginger,garlic,chillies and onions in that order and sauté with the spices till browned.(I added a pinch of turmeric ,thats why the yellowish hue)
Throw in the tomatoes,peas and veggies and mix well.
Pour in the thin coconut milk,salt and mix and cook till a whistle or till the peas are cooked and tomatoes are soft and mushed up.
When cooked,add the thick coconut milk,top with remaining pepper(add more if you need it more spicy) and simmer till heated through.
When heated and the sides start to froth,add the garam masala and herbs and top with lil more ghee and switch off.Close till use.
Serve hot with Rice,Pulav,rotis,Naan's..anything..I even like to have it as it is spoon by spoon..:)
If you want to store leftovers,refrigerate as soon as its cold and don't stir often.Mildly heat the portions you want to have at that time.With so much coconut milk,it doesn't stay fresh for long.So plan accordingly.
Verdict: This is like my pet recipe..A recipe and dish close to heart and as I said my love for peas makes me love this all the more..Sadly,my better half doesn't share the same sentiment for peas..Still he loves the gravy and curry as such.I make this very often and always love to sneak one spoon of it and enjoy every time I pass by the curry pan..;) Usually its more thick and creamy ,but I didn't add the original amount of coconut milk,that's why the consistency is different in my pic..But one real delicious dish..!
Thanks for reading foodies..Enjoy the sun ,stay cool and write to me ,wont ya??.. :)
xo
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