Recipe 3 of my 100 Healthy Recipes Challenge: Continuing my exploration of recipes from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, seasonal green peas go into this delicious Mutter ka Nimona, a regular part of a winter meal in Awadhi cuisine. Use fresh ingredients to bring out the flavour of this aromatic dhal like side dish. Traditionally served with rice, but tastes great with hot phulkas or with plain parathas too.
Married into a family from Eastern UP but settled in South India, I used to listen with all my foodie antenna at alert, as my husband went into a monologue every winter about childhood days of enjoying luscious fresh peas straight from the plant, and of the pea crops grown in acre after acre in their native village at Basti, near Gorakhpur. I have tasted the peas straight from the plants too, in the little kitchen garden my mother had at our house in Kharagpur, eons ago. In Chennai, the sight of large carts covered with fresh peas and with red ‘Delhi’ carrots every December, was an invitation to make tehari, mutter ka nimona, mutter paneer, aloo mutter, and everything green. This year at Bangalore, the peas have been a long time surfacing in the shops in large volumes, and I do hope they stay for a while.
Green peas are native to Western Asia and North Africa, and their cultivation has been known for more than 10,000 years. In India, the cultivation of Green peas is thought to have originated in north west India, in the sub Himalayan plains, though it is now grown as a commercial crop in various parts of the country, wherever the weather is cool enough to suit their growth.
Health and Nutrition:
Green peas are one of the most nutritious vegetables rich in health benefiting phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. They are a good source of carbohydrates and protein, as well as vitamins B, B1, B2, B6, C, vitamin K, manganese,iron, copper, phosphorus, molybdenum, zinc, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium, dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble), folate, niacin and choline. Fresh pea pods are an excellent sources of folic acid. Vitamin K is said to have a potential role in bone mass building function (mineralization) through promotion of osteotrophic activity inside the bone cells. It is also thought to play an important role in the cure of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage inside the brain.In addition to folates, peas contain other essential B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine.
As compared to beans, fresh and tender peas are relatively low in calories and have no cholesterol. Peas contain phytosterols, especially ß-sitosterol. Various Studies suggest that such leguminous vegetables rich in plant sterols help lower cholesterol levels. Fresh green peas are said to be rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and hence contain both antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties.
Fresh green peas also carry adequate amounts of anti-oxidants flavonoids such as carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin as well as vitamin-A (provide 765 IU or 25.5% of RDA per 100 g). Vitamin A is an essential nutrient required for maintaining healthy membranes, skin and eye-sight. Additionally, consumption of natural fruits/vegetables rich in flavonoids are said to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
With so many health benefits contained in this legume, make the most of this season to use fresh green peas plentifully in your diet. Try making mutter ka nimona and you will find yourself coming back to it again and again.