Matar Kulcha is one of the most popular street foods from Delhi. Usually sold on carts in huge brass handis(pots), it is lip smacking vegetarian curry made with white dried peas and served with a flatbread(called kulcha). We used to call them ghanti vaale chole since the vendor came ringing a bell, handing them over in a dried leaf bowl (dona).
Safed or Sookhe matar are dried white peas and the same are used to make Mumbai street food ragda pattice. They are a dried version of the fresh green peas and gained popularity in dry parts of India as a way to preserve vegetables. A perfect meal for #meatlessmonday, the curry is not at all heavy and uses less amount of oil for cooking.
These dried matar are a great source of vegetarian protein and quite wholesome. They are very easily to make and just need a few steps. You need to start a little ahead and soak these overnight before boiling them next morning. The curry uses a fresh ground wet chutney paste and that is one the main flavor boost of the recipe. Pair with buttered kulcha or ladled over aloo tikkis or enjoy a warm bowl as it is garnished with onions, ginger, green chillies & chutney.
In a pressure cooker, add everthing listed under "Boiling the Matar". Add 2-2.5 cups water and pressure cook on medium for 2-3 whistles until tender. These peas cook very fast so keep an eye. Let pressure release naturally. The peas should be soft when squeezed between your fingers.
Making the Matar
Peel the potatoes and cut them into small chunks. Set aside.
In a wet grinder- add everthing under "For the wet chutney paste" and make a fine paste. Add water if needed. Set aside.
Heat oil in a heavy pottom pot until a bit smoky.
Add the cumin seeds, hing, green chillies and ginger all at once and saute for a minute or so. Dont let burn.
Add the potato chunks next, add a bit of salt and saute the potatoes in oil for a few minutes to brown their edges.
Once the potatoes are slightly browned, immediately add the onions. Saute for a few minutes till the onions are transculent but dont brown them.
Add all the powdwered spices – corinader, turmeric, roasted cumin powder and chaat masala next. Add 2-3 tbsp of water and saute the spices with oil for a few minutes till you see little bubbles of oil seperating.
Add the boiled peas next along with all the liquid. Check and adjust the salt. Coved the lid and let the peas cook with everrthing for about 20 minutes on low medium heat till the poatoes are tender.
Once the poatoes have cooked, add the wet chutney paste, mix nicely, you can mash the peas a bit for a thicker consistency. Cover and let everything simmer for another 10 minutes.
Serve warm with kulchas. You can add chopped onions, tomatoes, green chiilies and fresh lemon juice on top.
As she poured melted dalda (shortening) through the metal beaker spout over the flour mix, her wrinkly fingers & eyes from behind the glasses worked in unison. She knew how to ration every drop of flowing oil to get the right texture of her papris to a flaky wafer. Half teaspoon more and you overdo it, one teaspoon less and you have missed the ratios for sure.I have always know indian pastry doughs made by badi mummy (grandmom) as something which were either done perfect or not done at all.
I still shy away from measuring cups & spoons when making doughs, its something I do with pure impulse & feeling. The moment I start measuring,I start to doubt my dough handling skills. There is no fun left in it anymore. A sort of nervousness takes over.Doing it for years now, I now have a feel of just how grainy the oil moistened flour should feel & can decipher what a difference half a teaspoon here & there can make. At the same time it intimidates me how foolproof this indian way of cooking is. Imperfect yet classy in its own way.
Las Vegas is quite a sob story when it comes to chaat. The less I talk about what they serve at indian restaurants in here, the better.I made paprichaat last week to salvage our month long cravings.From halal food stalls in Times Square & food trucks in LA to Toofani chaat corners in Allahabad & kathi roll vendors in Delhi, me & P share an endless love. Creative, delicious, affordable, addictive, filling ..I fall short of adjectives to describe the street food experience. Its pure joy, a soul satisfying, deep fried haven for us. Whenever I make it at home, I choose to overlook healthy options, its like stealing the soul of chaat – I feel strongly about it.
‘Chaat’ is a generic word used for savory delicacies served at roadside stalls in India.The best part about indian street food is that it can be made to please all tastebuds- you decide how spicy, tangy, salty or hot you want it. Papri or Papdi are deep fried,wafer like salted discs which are served with a “to taste” assortment of chickpeas or dried peas, hari (green) & imli (tamarind) chutneys,chopped /grated vegetables, powdered spices & yogurt. Its messy, crumbly, tangy, crunchy..oh so good!
Papri/Papdi (Yields about 40-50 papris)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sooji (semolina)
1/4 cup atta (all-purpose flour)
1/2 tsp ajwain (carrom seeds)
3/4 tsp fine salt
2-3 tbsp canola/vegetable oil (see method )
1/3 cup+1 tbsp luke warm water (see method)
Oil for frying
Note : Ajwain or Carrom Seeds aid in digestion & add a typical aroma & taste to the dough.
You can skip them if you dont have them & still make the papris.
Assembling a Papri Chaat Platter to Serve 2 :-
1/4 cup boiled Chickpeas
1 small potatoes, boiled , peeled & cubed
1/2 cup plain yogurt whisked with 2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp Imli (Tamarind) Chutney
2 tbsp Hari (Green) Chutney
Chopped Onion, cilantro (or veggies of choice)
1/4 tsp Kala Namak (black salt, available at indian stores)
1/4 tsp Chaat Masala (available at indian stores)
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
Besan Sev (Chickpea flour snack, available at indian stores, optional)
In a bowl, mix together the flours, ajwain & salt. Start with 2 tbsp of oil and start working it into the mixture. Keep on adding oil a teaspoon at a time & working it into the flour till you are just able to form a firm ball of the flour between your fingers.
Next, slowly add the water (1/4 cup to start with) and start kneading the dough. We are looking for a firm dough here (not soft & pliable).Knead the dough on a hard surface for about 3-4 minutes.Do not over knead.When just kneaded,the dough will appear tight & hard but don’t worry, after resting it will be okay.
Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth & let rest for at least 20 minutes. (do not skip this step)
Divide the rested dough into about 3 equal parts. Take one part and roll it into a thin sheet.The sheet should be rolled as thin as a cotton cloth. Once rolled, if you want you can prick the sheet with a fork to prevent puffing while frying. I prefer papris slightly puffed so I do not prick. Use a round cookie cutter or a jar lid to cut into round shapes. Transfer the rounds to a plate & place covered with damp cloth till you are about to fry. Gather the remaining dough & repeat rolling & cutting till whole of the dough is exhausted. Repeat the same for all portions of the dough.
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. The quantity of oil used should be enough to cover the papris completely while they fry. To check the temperature of oil, pinch a little dough & tip it into the heating oil. The dough should sizzle to the top slowly without changing color. If it sizzles immediately, reduce the heat & let the oil temperature come down.
Tip in the cut papris into the heated oil, few at a time. Do not overcrowd or stack the papris in the frying pan. Fry the papris on medium-low heat until both sides are golden brown (about 3-5 minites). Papris should be fried at medium- low heat else they will become soft after cooling.
Remove browned papris with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up excess oil.Fry all the papris in batches.
Cool completely & immediately store in an air tight container for up to 4 weeks.
For assembling chaat :-
Layer the papris in a plate. You can crush them into bite size pieces if you want or make individual servings. Top with boiled chickpeas & potatoes.Drizzle with yogurt, chutneys & chopped onions. Sprinkle kala namak, chaat masala, roasted cumin powder & red pepper flakes if using. Top up with chopped cilantro & sev. Serve immediately.