Its winter. The world of vegetables has considerably expanded and suddenly there are colourful vegetables at the stores. Red carrots, green peas, purple Beets, white cauliflowers…all blooming with vivacity and bursting with colour and energy. They seem to clamour to enter my shopping bag. And Im a sucker when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Then, they usually get stored in my refrigerator waiting for the day I will take them out and cook them. Ah, well.
However, this time, it was not so. My husband getting wiser to the ways to a certain female (i.e. me), allowed only a few select vegetables to be bought, amongst which were luscious red carrots and perfect pods of green peas. My mother in law loves shelling peas. Bless her soul. She loves shelling them more than she loves them in a vegetable, which is to say a lot of love for shelling of peas. To cut a long explanation short, lets just say the peas that were bought, were shelled within a day and stocked in the freezer. How awesome is that?!
So, last night, while preparing for another day at work and lunch, I raided the refrigerator and was faced with a packet of fresh, green stalks of beans and bright red carrots. Beans lost the chance, Im sorry to say, because of the labour intensive cleaning and cutting needed. And what ensued was a delightfully winter vegetable dry curry of carrots and peas. I love the colours that the subzi has, red and green, and the lightness of it. It is almost like a salad, yet it tastes good with Roti or Rice, due to the Indian spices. And it is well cooked, unlike green salads.
This is a popular Punjabi food, but this is with my own twist, as I have seen my very Bengali mother make it!
Cut Carrots – 4-5 medium sized ones, peeled and cut into semi circles. It is best to keep them around one cm thick, but not too thick or thin. Too thin – and they will cook v fast, losing flavor. Too thick and you will keep cooking and cooking and cooking…you get it. Thin carrots can be used in circular cuts. Basically ensure that the carrot is medium-thickness diced to ensure even cooking to the center.
Peas – Shelled peas, 1 cupful
Oil – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds (jeera) – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder (dhania) – 1 tsp
Turmeric (haldi) – 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder (lal mirch) – 1/2 – 1 tsp (depending on taste)
Garam Masala powder – 1.5 tsp
Salt – to taste
Sugar – a pinch
Wok+Oil+Jeera seeds -> stir + Carrots -> cook for 2-3 mins + dry masalas (keeping aside 1/2 tsp garam masala) -> cook for 5 mins + peas -> cover and cook till done. Sprinkel remaining garam masala
1. Heat oil in the Kadai (wok) till hot
2. Add the cumin seeds and watch them pop and sizzle. It is rather fun to watch them do this. Just before they start turning too brown, go to #3
3. Add the carrots. Stir it in well with the oil and the cumin seeds, and watch them change colour ever so slightly to orange-y. Then leave them be for a while.
(take a circle around the house in this time)
4. Add the dry cpices – turmeric, coriander, mirchi, salt and sugar and most of the garam masala. And stir it well with the carrots so they are evenly coated. The haldi should be just enough for a slight tinge. The vegetable does not look yellow or red. It looks like carrots and peas. Cover and reduce the flame.
(take another house tour if you wish here, I usually do)
5. Add the peas, mix well, cover and let cook.
6. After around 5-7 minutes, take off the lid, and let the curry cook in open air to let the excess moisture escape. Add the remaining garam masala and stir it well.
Serve hot with Roti and Daal. Not only is it sumptuous, it is extremely nutrituous and healthy. The vegetables retains all their original flavors and look lovely red and green, not at all overpowered by the spices.
This is a favorite in the family, and a must-make when it comes to fresh gajar and matar in the market! Hope you enjoy it as well 🙂
Your local Bengali Foodie