March 15, 2012

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe | Green Peas Masala Recipe

I've been wanting to try Kerala Style Peas Masala for ages now. I rarely make appam or puttu and that's what this goes best with but it went beautifully with chapatis too, I must say.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

Now, I really don't want to give you more reasons to think I am weird but in the interest of full disclosure, I want to admit that when I went to Delhi on work for a week earlier this month, I brought back fresh vegetables from the farmer's market. There, I said it. And before you ask, no, the Singapore customs didn't mind.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

I can never ever resist fresh peas. I think I am wired exactly like my mom in that aspect. Fresh vegetables make us go weak in the knees and from the very early days, she managed to plant this idea in my head that frozen vegetables are just not vegetables anymore. So I rarely buy frozen peas but jump at the fresh ones if I can get my hands on them.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

It was Sunday and I was talking to amma and as it often does, our conversation turned to food and recipes. I asked her for typical Kerala restaurant-style peas masala. The watery, spicy, peas-laden side-dish served with Kerala parotta in almost every restaurant. She boo-ed me. In her exact words "why do you want to make that at home? They add maida and who-knows-what-else to make it golu-gola" (referring to thickening of the gravy). I said fine, tell me your version.

And she did.

And it changed my life.

I am not kidding when I say this is the best side dish I have ever made for chapatis. Ever. It's a bit of grinding and sauteing and stuff but by God, it's worth it.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe


Source: Amma gave recipe verbally, I adapted it
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups of shelled peas, fresh or frozen (thawed)
2 tbsp of coriander seeds
3 dry red chillies
1 tsp + 1 tsp of oil
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
2 large onions, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
A small piece of ginger
1 cup of thick coconut milk
1 tsp of garam masala or any curry powder
Salt of to taste

For tempering:
1 tbsp coconut oil (or any oil you prefer)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A few curry leaves

How to Make Peas Masala:

1. In a small pan, heat the 1 tsp oil and fry the coriander seeds and red chillies until nicely browned. In fact, mine turned almost black, just short of burning, and that's perfect. Take care not to burn it because that will obviously spoil the peas masala. Set this aside to cool.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

2. In a larger pan, heat another tsp of oil and add the chopped onions. Once they brown, add the tomatoes, garlic and ginger. Saute some more until the mixture cooks up and looks mushy - about 4-5 mins. Remove from fire, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

3. In the same pan, add the peas and enough water to cover it completely. Add the turmeric powder and bring to boil, then lower fire to a simmer.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

4. Grind the roasted coriander-chilli mixture with some water (just to get it ground up nicely, doesn't need to be a super smooth paste) and add to the peas.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

Mix well and continue to cook on low flame.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

5. In the same mixer jar you used for the coriander-chilli mixture, grind the onion mixture to a smooth paste. Don't add water.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

6. Add this mixture to the peas and continue to cook for another 5 mins or until the peas are cooked and turn mushy when you apply pressure. Don't overcook them though.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

7. Add the coconut milk next along with salt. Mix and let it come to boil.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

8. As soon as it comes to boil, add the garam masala or any curry powder you like and remove from fire. If you think the gravy is too thick, you can add some water along with the coconut milk. Mine turned out perfect with these proportions.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

Time for tempering. Heat the coconut oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

When the mustard seeds start to pop, add to the cooked peas curry and mix well.

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe

Serve hot with chapatis, appam, puttu, or parotta. It's delicious!

Kerala-Style Peas Masala Recipe