Indian Vegetarian & Vegan

Khoya Matar

This rich and delicous north indian curry is made with matar (fresh peas) and khoya(milk solids). Its creamy without using any milk or heavy cream, the curry gets its richness from sweet and milky khoya/mawa. This curry is perfect to serve for festive or dinners or when you are in a mood to eat restaurant like curries at home.

In northern India, khoya is popularly used to make mithai(sweets) and it makes its way into a lot of savory dishes as well. This khoya matar recipe is very simple to make and uses onion-tomato masala base which is perfumed with sweet smelling spices like cardamom and cinnamon and gets its richness from khoya.

This curry is one of the most loved old family recipes which was cooked once or twice a year during the autumn or winter months with seasonal fresh peas. I am told that this was my grandfather’s favorite.

Check out my other pea recipes like Matar Paneer and Sukha Matar Aloo.

I have talked about my love for mawa/khoya so many times. It is one of my favorite ingredient. Before the festive season begins, I like to make a big batch and store it. Below is a video showing how I make khoya at home. However you can always use store bought. Make sure to use a good quality khoya, the main flavor of this dish comes from the sweet milkiness of the khoya, since no cream or milk is used.

How to Make Khoya Matar?

The dish starts with preparation of masala base. The masala base for the curry uses browned onion paste, which lends so much flavor and robustness to the dish. If you do not want to make browned onions at home, you can simply buy browned onions from store and grind them with a little water to make a paste. Once you make the onion paste, this curry is super simple and quick to make with regular spices, tomatoes and yogurt. Once the masala is done,add peas and khoya and simmer for a few minutes til khoya melts down and forms a thick sauce. Finish with pinch of kasuri methi and garam masala.

Serve this rich and hearty curry with naan, pooris,spinach roti, roti or paratha and raita(yogurt). You can also serve it with steamed rice or cumin rice.

Few Tips & Tricks to keep in mind when you are making Khoya Matar:-

  1. Peas:- You can use frozen peas in this recipe. Frozen peas that you get in stores are already blanched so you can skip that step in the recipe. Thaw the frozen peas and use them. I use fresh shelled peas that’s why I blanch them.
  2. Brown Onion Paste :- Browned onions are super easy to make and you can make them a day or two ahead. Simply slice the onions and fry them in oil on medium heat. Drain and cool down. Then you can grind them with 1-2 tbsp water if needed. I often avoid using store bought onions because I find them a bit smelly, however if you love a brand, go ahead and use store bought.
  3. Prepare Ahead :- You can make the masala base of the curry in advance and store refrigerated for 2 days. The masala base freezes very well for a month. When you want to make the curry, add the peas and khoya then.
  4. Khoya :- As I already mentioned, I used homemade khoya. Choose good quality khoya– which means with good fat content and sweet if you are using store bought. Khoya is the main taste in this recipe so make sure you use the best kind available.
  5. Variations :- Use this same recipe to make Khoya Matar Paneer or Khoya Matar Makhana(foxnuts). Simply add fried chunks of paneer and roasted makhana.
  6. Cooking Oil Versus Ghee :- When I make this dish for a celebrations or festivals, I like to cook it in ghee. Else you can cook it in any neutral oil like grapeseed or avocado oil.
  7. Consistency:- The ideal consistency of khoya matar is on a thicker side however its not dry.
  8. Spice Level :- Khoya matar has a mellow rich taste. The curry gets its sweetness from peas and khoya. Imagine it as a fragrant spicy curry that not hot. A perfect example of the fact that spicy doesn’t mean hot 🙂
  9. Leftovers :- Make this dish in the quantity that you would be able to finish same day. The leftovers don’t reheat well and the taste of curry changes.
  10. Using Nut Powders :- If you want, you can use 1-2 tbsp of super fine ground nuts like almonds or cashews to the masala. They do taste awesome however I feel the dish gets too heavy so I don’t 🙂
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Khoya Matar

A rich and delicous north indian curry made with matar (fresh peas) and khoya(milk solids). Its creamy without using any milk or heavy cream. Best served with naan, roti or cumin rice.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cup 9about 300 g) fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 large onion, sliced (don't slice too thin or too thick)
  • Oil for frying the onions
  • 2 tbsp thick plain yogurt (not too tart)
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 inch cinnamon
  • 5 green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste (simply pound 3 garlic cloves and 1 inch ginger shoot in a mortar using a pestle)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes (roughly chopped and pureed, about 3/4 cup puree)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup khoya
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), crushed fine between palms
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 1 drop Kewra essence, optional
  • Ginger julines and chopped cilantro to garnish

Instructions

  • If using frozen peas, make sure they are thawed overnight. If you are using fresh peas, blanch them in a pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes.
  • Heat oil on medium heat in a heavy bottom pot. Once oil is hot, add the sliced onions. Cook onions till they brown evenly. Strain the onions from the oil using a slotted spoon.You can reserve the oil used for frying the onions and use it in curries.
  • Add the onions to a small blender jar along with yogurt and kashmiri red chili powder. Blitz to make a smooth paste. Set aside
  • Warm up ghee in a cooking pot. Add the whole spices and crackle for 30 seconds.Next, add the ginger garlic paste and cook for 30 seconds or so till you smell a nice aroma. Add the powdered spices next, add 1 tbsp water and sautĂ© spices in oil for a minute.
  • Then add the tomato puree, sugar and salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes till you see oil seperating on the sides.
  • Stiring continously, next add the yogurt onion paste and now and cook again on medium heat till oil starts separating on sides.
  • Add blanched(or thawed) peas now and mix so that the peas are nicely coated in masala. At this point you can add few extra ginger juliennes as well. SautĂ© the peas with masala on low medium heat for 2-3 minutes so that they are warmed through.
  • Add the 1/3- 1/2 cup water next and mix everything. Let cook for 2-3 minutes till you see that the water is slowly bubbling. Add the crumbled khoya now. You will see that within a few minutes the khoya will melt and the sauce will appear to be milky. Keep the stove on low. Don't let come to a boil.
  • Let the curry simmer for 5 minutes on low heat till you see all the khoya has melted and its now part of the sauce. Switch off the stove and mix in the kasuri methi and garam masala. Add kewra if using.
  • Mix gently and let rest for 20 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with cilantro and ginger juliennes.

Notes

  • Peas:- You can use frozen peas in this recipe. Frozen peas that you get in stores are already blanched so you can skip that step in the recipe. Thaw the frozen peas and use them. I use fresh shelled peas that’s why I blanch them.
  • Brown Onion Paste :- Browned onions are super easy to make and you can make them a day or two ahead. Simply slice the onions and fry them in oil on medium heat. Drain and cool down. Then you can grind them with 1-2 tbsp water if needed. I often avoid using store bought onions because I find them a bit smelly, however if you love a brand, go ahead and use store bought.
  • Prepare Ahead :- You can make the masala base of the curry in advance and store refrigerated for 2 days. The masala base freezes very well for a month. When you want to make the curry, add the peas and khoya then.
  • Khoya :- As I already mentioned, I used homemade khoya. Choose good quality khoya– which means with good fat content and sweet if you are using store bought. Khoya is the main taste in this recipe so make sure you use the best kind available.
  • Variations :- Use this same recipe to make Khoya Matar Paneer or Khoya Matar Makhana(foxnuts). Simply add fried chunks of paneer and roasted makhana.
  • Cooking Oil Versus Ghee :- When I make this dish for a celebrations or festivals, I like to cook it in ghee. Else you can cook it in any neutral oil like grapeseed or avocado oil.
  • Consistency:- The ideal consistency of khoya matar is on a thicker side however its not dry.
  • Spice Level :- Khoya matar has a mellow rich taste. The curry gets its sweetness from peas and khoya. Imagine it as a fragrant spicy curry that not hot. A perfect example of the fact that spicy doesn’t mean hot 🙂
  • Leftovers :- Make this dish in the quantity that you would be able to finish same day. The leftovers don’t reheat well and the taste of curry changes.
  • Using Nut Powders :- If you want, you can use 1-2 tbsp of super fine ground nuts like almonds or cashews to the masala. They do taste awesome however I feel the dish gets too heavy so I don’t 🙂
Indian Mithai & Desserts · Indian Streetfood & Indo Chinese · Rice Dishes

Zarda – Sweet Saffron Rice

Sinfully Spicy : Zarda /Meethe Chawal , Sweet Saffron RiceA little while away, I got this immense craving to gorge on these sweet saffron rice. It was sparked by the sticky rice pudding that we relished a night before thatĂ‚ day. Usually, if you follow me on Instagram or here on the blog, you would have noticed that there is more savory than sweet in my feed. I had this huge sweet tooth in my teens, but somehow it faded away as I grew older. There are certain things I enjoy, a delicious chunk of homemadeĂ‚ gulab jamun and a moist slice of butter cake, but usually sugar doesn’t get me too too excited.Ă‚ Only when there is a good enough reason to make them, I retort towards making desserts at home. Buying a single serve slice from our favorite bakery almost always seemsĂ‚ to be a superiorĂ‚ option than baking and frosting a whole 9 inch round which will then lurkĂ‚ at me in the refrigerator for whole week. Its a bit too logical for some of you who swear by regularĂ‚ dessert makingĂ‚ but that’s how I think.

Sinfully Spicy : Zarda /Meethe Chawal , Sweet Saffron RiceAnyhow, that same night, chatting over a Thai food takeout, we delved into discussing new year traditions growing up. My husband recollected coconut sweet balls & rice pudding, both made with palm jaggery, a typicalĂ‚ inĂ‚ east indian homes and I could only think of my grandmother’s zarda, only aboutĂ‚ it. That night, I must have dreamed Ă‚ about it. The little puffy, steamy bubbles that surface on the top layer when a pot of Ă‚ basmati is slowly boiled, or of the sniff of saffron which after filling each nook and corner of our big kitchen reached out to those sitting in the verandah through two large, dark brown windows with green painted grille. Next morning this sweet saffron rice was the only thing I could think of. Out of nowhere, in the middle of summer, but I just had to recreate those memories.

Each year, every year at the dawn of the first day of the year, I woke up to a quiet house with busy kitchen. BadI mummy (my grandma) standing right infront of the stove, rice boiling onĂ‚ one sideĂ‚ and aroma wafting through a pot of simmering whole milk to which cloves, cardamom and nutmeg had been added. TheseĂ‚ blonde looking rice, she remarked were an incoming of prosperity into the house. In those days, we lived in a joint family and with few guests added on the new year eve along with distribution to all house help, the quantity of zarda to be cooked would be thrice the amountĂ‚ than usual. Speckled with ground cardamom and streaks of strong-smelling kashmiri zaffran(saffron) all through it, a bowl of it was so delicious garnished with a handful of nuts or raisins. Much like today, in those days saffron was exuberantly priced, so it came to life in cooking a few dishes on special occasions only. New Years day was one.

Sinfully Spicy : Zarda /Meethe Chawal , Sweet Saffron RiceMy mom got me these little packsĂ‚ of saffron from India a couple of weeks back, a delicate virgin variety of this spice, it is sharp and strong. A few strands is what it took to turn rice into a golden looking treat. This recipe can be easily made vegan by using full fat coconut or cashew milk and substituting any neutral oil in place of ghee. Try using a long grain basmati rice and be watchful during cooking period for separated, fluffy grains. I have included a few notes in the recipe which will help making this sweet rice delicacy an easy task.

Sinfully Spicy : Zarda /Meethe Chawal , Sweet Saffron Rice

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 cup long grain basmati rice
  • 1 green cardamom, break open
  • 3-4 cups water to par boil the rice
  • 1 tablespoonĂ‚ gheeĂ‚ (substitute with coconut oil for vegan)
  • 1 cup whole milk (use unsweetened cashew/full fat coconut milk for vegan)
  • 3 tablespoonĂ‚ gheeĂ‚ (substitute with coconut oil for vegan)
  • 2-3 green cardamom,Ă‚ break open
  • 2Ă‚ cloves
  • 1 heaping teaspoon good quality saffron
  • 1 generous pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (can go upto 1 cup)
  • 3Ă‚ tablespoon roasted, unsalted nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews) + more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon golden raisins +Ă‚ more for garnish

Notes

  1. Use good quality spices in this recipe.
  2. Different varieties of saffron have different sharpness and strength. Adjust the quantity depending on the brand you are using.
  3. To make the zarda more rich, instead ofĂ‚ using roasted nuts, you can fry them in a small pan in 1/2 tablespoon ofĂ‚ gheeĂ‚ and add on top.

Method

Wash the rice under running stream of water 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for 45 minutes in enough water (add a green cardamom to it)Ă‚ required forĂ‚ parboiling. You can soak rice in the same pot that you will use for cooking.

Once the rice has soaked. Parboil the rice until 80% cooked (takes about 10 minutes).The cooking time will depend on quality of rice. Ă‚ To check the rice, take a grain and press it between the index finger and thumb. The rice grain will we brittle (break easily) and you will feel & see hard whitish bits in the center of the grain. Once the rice has parboiled, immediately drain it and gently mix a tablespoon of meltedĂ‚ gheeĂ‚ in the warm rice.

Ă‚ While the rice is boiling, add milk, 3 tablespoonĂ‚ ghee, cardamom and clove to a small pot and set it to simmer on a medium low flame. Let milk simmer for 5-7 minutes on low heat and then put the stove off. Once the milk has cooled off a bit and is warm(not hot) to touch add sugar, saffron and nutmeg to it. Let sit.

In the same pot in which you parboiled the rice, add theĂ‚ warmĂ‚ spiced milk sugar mixture. Very gently add the drained rice to the milk. Add the nuts and raisins. Cover and let cook on medium low heat for 10-12 minutes until all the milk is absorbed and the rice is completely done. Put the stove off.

After 15-20Ă‚ minutes of sitting, gently fluff the rice with the help a fork.Garnish with more nuts and raisins if you want.

Serve warm or at room temperature.