poha with potatoes and peas

Poha or chivda are the Indian names for flattened rice. These light and flaky things can be fried and mixed with nuts and spices to make a crunchy mixture, perfect with milky black tea or even beer. But the recipe I am going to talk about today is mostly eaten for breakfast, although I eat it as and when I feel like. There are 2 kinds of poha available in Indian grocery stores: the thin and the thick varieties. I feel the thin one is better for making the dry crispy snack mixture I mentioned earlier. The thick one is more suited for today’s recipe since it won’t get mushy when moistened.

Ingredients

  • Thick poha (flattened rice): 1 cup
  • 1 medium potato, cubed into 1/2 inch thick pieces.
  • 1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1 small green chilli, chopped finely (optional)
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Raw peanuts, about 1 table-spoon
  • 2 whole dry red chillies
  • Mustard seeds, 2 tea spoons
  • A pinch of Asafoetida
  • Turmeric powder, 1 tea-spoon
  • Salt, to taste.
  • Cilantro for garnish.

Method

1. Put the poha in a colander or seive and wash under running water for a minute. Set aside to drain.

2. Heat 2 table spoons of oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and dry red chillies.

3. After the mustard seeds have stopped spluttering, add a pinch of asafoetida and green chillies and saute for 10 seconds.

4. Then add the raw peanuts and saute till they turn slightly brown.

5. Next add curry leaves and onions and saute for a minute.

6. Follow with turmeric, potatoes, peas and salt. (I also add grated carrot and cauliflower sometimes).

7. Cover the pan and cook till the potatoes are done. You can add a little water if the mixture is too dry.

8. Once the potatoes are tender, add the moistened poha and mix thoroughly. The turmeric should stain the poha completely. Be gentle while mixing to not end up with a mush. Sprinkle a little water if it looks dry.

9. Once everything is mixed properly, turn off the heat and add lemon juice.

10. Granish with cilantro leaves and enjoy with ketchup and some bhujiya!

peppery pea soup

After spending most of the day laboring over a shahi subz biryani for tomorrow’s special dinner, followed by an hour-long walk in the rain, I wanted to eat something warm and comforting, but quick. I was in no mood for making an elaborate dinner. What came to mind was pea soup. A humble pea soup can be cooked a thousand different ways and can be made to suit most occasions and seasons. Served chilled, it can be perfect for a summer or spring lunch. All you really need is some peas and a blender. Rest of it can be put together based on the state of your fridge and pantry :)

Today’s version was meant to be eaten warm given the aforementioned weather situation! I also added a lot of garlic and cracked black pepper to amp-up the warmth factor. The ingredients below will make one large bowl of soup, enough to fill one person.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2-3 scallions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Freshly ground/crushed black pepper
  • Olive oil and Salt
  • Grated pecorino romano or parmegiano reggiano for garnish

Method

1.  Heat a little olive oil in a pot and add roughly sliced garlic.

2. Add chopped up scallions and saute for 1 minute.

3. Add thawed peas, or if you are feeling too lazy, just add them frozen.

4. Once the peas are coated with oil, add salt and pepper.

5. Add about a cup of water and cook until peas are done. Don’t over cook them. It should take just about 1-2 minutes for this much quantity.

6. Transfer to a blender and purée.

7. Put the puréed mixture back in the pot. Don’t boil it, just simmer for a few seconds while mixing in the cream.

8. If it’s too thick, just add some water and heat through. If it is too thin, add a little more cream.

9. Check for salt and pepper, sprinkle the cheese and serve with toasted bread.

There is nothing sacrosanct about the proportions or ingredients I used. You can easily use butter instead of/in addition to olive oil. If you don’t have heavy cream, just add a little milk or half-n-half; but use a little less water if you are using milk. Water can be replaced with vegetable/chicken stock of any type. Use a white or yellow onion if you don’t have scallions. I wouldn’t use a red onion here, partly due to its stronger taste and also because I want the soup to look very green. I also like to add some roasted cumin powder sometimes in place of black pepper. And of course, you can always use fresh peas instead of frozen!