Matar ka Nimona – Ground Green Peas Curry cooked with Spices
A classic recipe from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Matar ka Nimona from green peas are a regular part of a winter meal in Awadhi cuisine. Fresh Green peas are pureed and cooked with whole spices and chunks of potato, in an onion tomato gravy
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Awadhi, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Indian, North Indian
Keyword: Green Peas, Matar ka Nimona, Nimona, Peas Curry
Author: Sujata Shukla
3cupsGreen peascoarsely ground preferably on grinding stone
Peel and slice the onion into small slices (about 1 cm), and tomato into slightly larger ones (about 2 cm) so that their colour shows through the green nimona. Peel and mince (slice thinly into very small pieces) ginger and garlic. Mince coriander leaves including tender stalks. Peel and dice the potatoes into 2-3 cm long cubes and place in water till required.
Crush the whole spices well, i.e. the peppercorns, clove, cinnamon and cardamom and set aside.Shell the peas and grind the raw/frozen peas coarsely on a flat stone, using very little water. You need to break the peas, not liquidise them. If using a processor (please refer my remarks in the post above), puree the peas using as little water as required, till you get a thick paste. You may need about 3 tablespoons of water for each cup of shelled peas.
Making Matar ka Nimona
Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan or in the pressure cooker, if using (please see my remarks in the post above). Sunflower oil or mustard oil, either are good in this recipe. I would not recommend oils such as sesame or coconut oil as they will impact the authentic flavours. Add the methi (fenugreek) seeds in the hot oil, and saute for 1 minute or till they begin to redden. Add all the crushed whole spices and sauté for 1 minute on low flame
Add onions, sauté on low flame for 5 minutes till they begin to brown Next the ginger, sauté for 30 seconds and then add garlic, sauté for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, sauté for 1 -2 minutes or till the oil begins to separate at the sides.
Add the spice powders: turmeric powder, coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala powder. Sauté for 1 minute, on low flame, stirring the powders well into the onion tomato gravy. Add the potatoes, stir briskly for 2 minutes so that they are covered with oil and masala.
Finally add the pureed peas, stirring briskly for 5 minutes. The flavours of nimona are enhanced when potatoes, masala and peas are stirred and sauteed well.
Add minced coriander leaves and 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 and add a little more as required.
Making Nimona in a Pan
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 as the water dries up. The consistency should be like a thick dal.
Making Nimona in Pressure Cooker
If using a Pressure cooker, cook till 1 whistle on high and then turn off the heat. Let the cooker release steam and open on its own so that nimona is cooked. It is best to move the cooker away from the hot gas ring once you turn it off, so that the nimona cooks without burning and catching at the bottom of the pan and also reduce risk of overcooking.
To Serve Nimona
Transfer matar ka nimona to a serving dish and serve hot with chappati or rice