Indian Curry/Stew

Matar Ka Nimona(Gluten free & Vegan)

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, sautéing 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!

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Matar Ka Nimona

An indian curry made of ground peas and fresh sweet peas.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Food processor, Kadhai/Heavy pan

Ingredients

For Blanching the Peas

  • 10 oz (284gms) shelled fresh peas ,please dont use frozen peas
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Curry

  • 4 tbsp mustard oil (or use regular cooking oil)
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and quatered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp hing
  • 1 medium onion,finely chopped yield about heaped 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 fat garlic cloves
  • 2 inch fresh ginger peeled
  • 1/2 tbsp corinader powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp hot red chilli powder adjust to taste
  • 3 medium tomatoes add to blender & puree smooth
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 tbsp ginger julinnes optional
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp amchoor powder adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder

Tempering (Optional)

  • 1.5 tbsp mustard oil (or use ghee)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger

For Serving

  • Sliced Onions, Cilantro, Ghee etc

Instructions

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 1/4 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 tbsp 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 1/4 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.

Make Tempering

  • 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.
Lentils

Milai Ki Dal (Arhar Urad Mix Dal)

A very cozy daal recipe from my grandma’s kitchen. Indians are known to mix lentils always and this is a unique combination of lacey split urad and earthly archer(pigeon pea lentils). Both the lentils are mixed and cooked together in with lots of hing and ginger and then tempered with mustard oil browned garlic slices and dried chillies. You can vary the quantity of each lentil as per your liking. I love deals when they are creamy lacey as well as have a lot of texture, this daal fits so well in that variety.

I remember making faces at this daal growing up but surprisingly enough it is now one of my favorite with rotis especially.

A few things to be kept in mind when making these. Don’t soak the lentils for more than 20 minutes for the right texture. Make them on the thicker side, they taste better than soupy. If you cannot find mustard oil, you can use ghee to temper them and don’t skimp on the garlic. Lastly, dont add salt when boiling the daal, add it later, it keeps the grains soft.

Recipe

Ingredients(Serves 3-4)

  • 1/2 cup arhar daal
  • 1/3 cup split urad daal
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard oil (or ghee)
  • 2-2.5 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • Lemon juice, cilantro( to serve)

Tempering

  • 3-4 tbsp mustard oil (or ghee)
  • 3-4 dried chillies, broken
  • 12-15 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp hing
  • 3/4 tsp hot red chilli powder (adjust to taste)

Method

Wash the lentils 3-4 times until the water runs clear. Add them to a pressure cooker along with ginger, hing and oil.Add 2 cups water and let them soak in the cooker for 15-20 mins.

Once soaked, put on the lid and pressure cook the lentils for 2-3 whistles on medium flame. Do not cook for too long else the lentils will lose their texture. Switch off the stove and let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and add 1/2 cup cold water along with salt to taste. With the back of a spoon, mash the lentils for 1-2 minutes, gently so that they are creamy but the grains are not broken. Return to a low stove and cook for 3-5 minutes without stirring much. Take off the stove.

Tempering the Daal:- In a small saucepan or your tadka pan, warm up the mustard oil on low medium heat till its a bit smoky. Add the dried chillies and crisp them for 30 seconds, sliced garlic and cook them for 2-3 minutes until they are light brown. Add the cumin and hing next and sauté for 20 seconds. You will smell a nice aroma.

Take off the stove and add the red chilli powder. Add the tempering to the warm daal and mix well.

Serve warm with lemon juice and chopped cilantro.

-Enjoy!