Nimona is a traditional recipe made with ground green chickpeas or fresh peas in western Uttar Pradesh. My grandmother family belongs to that belt and no wonder this is one of our favorite family recipes. She cooked Nimona atleast once a week. Very arduously, she spent the entire afternoon shelling the green chickpeas which were in season during late winter. Nimona was made with peas rarely, however, I make it only with fresh peas (do not use frozen) since I dont have access to the green chickpeas. I tried the frozen chickpeas once and truly regretted it 🙂
Sweet shelled peas, blanched quickly and then ground into a coarse paste. The coarseness of the peas gives this curry a beautiful texture and if you ask a cook, the way a vegetable is cut, diced, crushed, pureed etc makes so much difference in the taste of the finished dish. Please do not make a smooth paste. In addition to grinding the peas coarsely, save a handful to add to the curry while it cooks.
This curry is gluten-free and ideally, if you cook it in mustard oil just the way it is should be, it is vegan as well. Traditionally, deep fried potatoes are added to this curry. And they are quite delicious, no question about that. However, I like to brown the potatoes in a couple tablespoons of oil rather than deep frying and later the potatoes finish cooking in the curry. Also, sautÃ©ing ground peas with the masala is an important part of making this curry. Dont be tempted to leave the peas green, the proper taste of nimona will not come through. After the peas "bhuno" with masala for good 8-10 minutes, the smokiness of the curry is just irresistible.
On some days, I like to temper the nimona, it is optional and only enhances the taste. Nimona is amazing served with rotis or steamed rice. A dollop of ghee on warm bowl of nimona is a beautiful finish. Make extra because it tastes better next day!
Matar Ka Nimona
- Food processor, Kadhai/Heavy pan
For Blanching the Peas
- 10 oz (284gms) shelled fresh peas ,please dont use frozen peas
- pinch sugar
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Curry
- 4 tablespoon mustard oil (or use regular cooking oil)
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and quatered
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves
- 2 green cardamom
- ½ teaspoon hing
- 1 medium onion,finely chopped yield about heaped ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 fat garlic cloves
- 2 inch fresh ginger peeled
- ½ tablespoon corinader powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon hot red chilli powder adjust to taste
- 3 medium tomatoes add to blender & puree smooth
- pinch sugar
- 1 tablespoon ginger julinnes optional
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon amchoor powder adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1.5 tablespoon mustard oil (or use ghee)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- Sliced Onions, Cilantro, Ghee etc
Blanch & Grind the Peas
- Add salt and sugar and water to a cooking pot. Bring to a boil. Add shelled peas and switch off the stove. Let the peas stand in hot water for 3-5 mins. Drain. You can reserve the water to adjust the consistency of curry later.
- Save ¼ cup peas and add the rest to food processor jar fitted with metal blade and pulse 10-12 times until the peas are coarse. Dont make a smooth paste. The peas should be coarsely ground. Set aside.
Make the Nimona
- Pound the garlic and ginger along with cumin seeds using mortar pestle. Keep ready.
- In a wide kadhai or heavy pan, add the oil and warm on low medium heat until its slightly smoky.
- Carefully add the poatoes to the oil, sprinkle a pinch of salt. Brown the poatoes on all the sides. Do not cook them through. Once browned, take out in a bowl and keep near.
- Remove the kadhai from stove and temper the remainng oil with bay leaf, cardamom and cloves. Add hing. Saute for 10 seconds, be careful the spices might crackle.
- Return the kadhai/pan back to stove. Next, add the ginger-garlic that we pounded earlier and saute in hot oil for 10 seconds. Dont let burn.
- Add the chopped onions next and on low medium heat brown the onions stirring regularly to a nice golden color.
- Once the onions are browned, add all the powdered spices- corinader, chilli power, tumeric to the pan. Add 2-3 tablespoon of water. Saute the spices very well for 3-5minutes in oil. Once you see oil bubbles seperating, add the tomatoes and pinch of sugar. Saute the tomatoes with onions and spices for 5-6 minutes on low medum heat till you see that the masala is deep in color and the oil is seperating again.
- Add the ground peas along with julinned ginger(if using) and mix well with the masala.Also add the reserved peas. Saute the peas with the masala for good 6-7 minutes, scrapping the sides and bottom of pan since the peas have a tendency to stick.
- The peas will slowly start turning brown. Keep on sauteing till you see that the peas are lightish brown and bit shiny.
- Add about a cup and a half of warm water. Add the potatoes as well. Mix everything, it should be a thick curry right now. Taste and adjust the salt. Bring to a slight boil, cover with a lid, reduce the stove to low and let simmer for 12-14 minutes untill the potatoes are fork tender. If you feel that thenimona is getting too thick for your liking, add ¼ cup or more water. Simmer after you add water. Dont make very watery though. You will see a little thin layer of oil on stove by the end. Nimona is ready
- Mix in the amchoor and roasted cumin powder. Add the tempering(if using). Mix well. Cover and let rest for atleast 30 minutes before serving.
- In a small sauce pan, heat up the mustard oil till smoky. Switch off the stove and the cumin and ginger. Let crackle. Add to the nimona.