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Mutter ka Nimona – Spiced Green Pea Curry

Mutter ka Nimona – Spiced Green Pea Curry
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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.

Matar ka Nimona - a spiced curry from green peas ground into paste and cooked in onion and tomato gravy
Matar ka Nimona – a spiced curry from green peas ground into paste and cooked in onion and tomato gravy

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.

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Matar ka Nimona – Curry of Fresh Green Peas pureed and cooked in Spices, Onions and Tomatoes Yum
A classic recipe from Eastern Uttar Pradesh,delicious Mutter ka Nimona with green peas are a regular part of a winter meal in Awadhi cuisine.
A classic recipe from Eastern Uttar Pradesh,delicious Mutter ka Nimona with green peas are a regular part of a winter meal in Awadhi cuisine.
Course side dish
Cuisine indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Course side dish
Cuisine indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
A classic recipe from Eastern Uttar Pradesh,delicious Mutter ka Nimona with green peas are a regular part of a winter meal in Awadhi cuisine.
Instructions
  1. Peel, Chop /mince the onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and coriander leaves. The tomatoes may be cut into 1/2" pieces, so that their colour shows through the green nimona. Peel and dice the potatoes into 1" long cubes.
  2. Grind the raw peas in the processor, using just a little water, till you get a thick but fluid paste. I added 1 tablespoon of water for each cup of peas.
    Mutter ka Nimona_make a paste of the green peas adding very little water
  3. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan or in the pressure cooker, if using. Add the methi (fenugreek) seeds in the hot oil, so that they burst. Add all the whole spices and sauté for 2 minutes on low flame
  4. Add onions, sauté on low flame for 2-3 minutes till they begin to brown Add ginger, sauté for 30 seconds. Add garlic, sauté for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, sauté for 1 -2  minutes or till the oil begins to separate from the tomatoes, at the sides.
  5. Add the turmeric, coriander, chilli and garam masala powders. Sauté for one minute, on low flame, stirring the powders into the onion tomato gravy. Add the potatoes, stir briskly for 2 minutes so that they are fried well.
  6. Add  the peas paste, again stir briskly for 2-3 minutes. The flavours of the nimona are enhanced when the potatoes, masalas and peas are fried well.
  7. Add coriander leaves. Add the whole Bay leaf, stir once Pour enough water to cover the nimona, and then about a centimetre more, above the surface. Add salt, check the taste.
  8. If making the nimona in a pan, bring it first to a boil, and then simmer for about 10 -15 minutes on low flame, checking that the peas are well cooked. Keep stirring frequently, add a little water if you find it is becoming dry. Ensure it does not 'catch' at the bottom of the pan.
  9. If using a Pressure cooker, cook till 1 whistle on high and then simmer on low flame for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the stove and let the cooker release steam and open on its own so that nimona is well cooked.   It is best to move the cooker away from the hot gas ring once you switch it off, so that the nimona cooks without burning and catching at the bottom of the pan
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Nimona from Eastern Uttar Pradesh - seasonal green peas pureed and cooked with potato & onion tomato and spices gravy into a dhal like dish.
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