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Let there be Peas


Biryani Recipes

Adapted from Ashwini's Blog

This dish has many, many memories attached to it. On our annual trips to Goa, we couldn't eat fish until we had visited all temples. And it invariably used to be a short trip because we had to head to my uncle's home soon after. So consider this

seafood lovers + seafood paradise + (4 to 5 temples x 1-2 rituals each) - no seafood = really cranky seafood lovers!!

I am exaggerating of course. It wasn't that bad. Contrary to popular perception Goa has amazing vegetarian fare to offer and we didn't feel deprived at all. I remember we used to eat this peas curry with freshly baked buns and it was sheer bliss! Goa's bread deserves a post of its own. Poetry can be written on the subject and it would still not be enough.

This curry is an example of how legumes are cooked in the region of Malwan/ Goa. Roasted coconut, use of whole spices like cinnamon & cloves and the distinct lack of bedgi chillies sets this cuisine apart from its Kanara counterparts (though there are exceptions on both sides, so no angry emails please!).

The recipe is a specialty of my mother's side and my 'mausi' (aunt) especially excels in making it. When family get togethers had to be strictly vegetarian, 'hirvya vatanyachi amti' was the unanimous choice. Only my aunt insisted on calling it 'popti vatanyachi amti' (parrot green peas curry)!

(serves 2-3)
1 cup dry green peas*
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp tamarind paste or 3-4 kokum
salt to taste
Masala -
1/2 tsp oil
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
5-6 peppercorns
3-4 dried red chillies
1" cinnamon
2 cloves
3/4 cup grated coconut
remaining 1/2 of onion, sliced
Seasoning -
mustard seeds
curry leaves

Soak green peas in water overnight. Drain and add just enough water to submerge. Combine with chopped onion and cook until soft (but holding their shape). Set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet and roast the coriander seeds, chillies, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns. Set aside. Add sliced onion and coconut and roast till golden. Grind everything to smooth paste with a little water.

Heat a sauce pan with oil. Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafetida. Add cooked peas and masala. Adjust consistency of the curry with water and still until everything is well combined.

Add tamarind/ kokum and season to taste. Bring to a boil and serve with bread, or rice.

* You can use fresh green peas too, if you find the non sweet kind
* This masala is very versatile; use it for 'chawli' (black eyed peas), 'moong' (green gram sprouts) and the other famous dish from the region - 'kale vatane' (dry black peas)


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