Aloo Matar – My Way!

Mind you, this is not perhaps the aloo matar you would go eat in a restaurant. Instead, this is more of a aloor dom koraishuti diye, with bhaja moshla. It consists of two of my favorite things – tiny potatoes which I recently discovered in the market and bought a kilo of, and freshly harvested peas, the vegetable heralding the fact that winter is approaching.

The procedure is simple – here’s what you do. You find the two suspects – potatoes and peas, and buy some. Here, I had about 500 gm. potatoes, which I cooked whole till they were soft. It took me one whistle in the pressure cooker, but you can also cook them normally, in a lot of water. It is important to have their skins on, because these potatoes are pretty muddy, so you will need to remove the skins before cooking anyway. Cleaning them twice clearly makes no sense to me. Once cooked, cool the potatoes down, and then peel them. Shell some peas till you get about 150 gm. worth, or a couple of handfuls.

Cooking Aloo Matar – look! Bhaja Moshla in the center.

The next step is simple. Make bhaja moshla, or a simple roasted spice blend. In a flat, heavy bottomed vessel, dry roast 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 4 dry red chillies for 3-4 minutes over low flame, or until there is a lovely, toasty smell emanating from the two. Remove from the pan, and pound roughly to crush them. Heat 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon refined oil in the pan, and add 2 teaspoon ginger paste to it, along with 2 bay leaves. Let cook for 1 minute before adding 2 chopped tomatoes (roughly half cup of tomatoes, or 150 gm. ) and a pinch of sugar. Cook till the tomatoes are soft, about 5-6 minutes, over low heat. Add a couple of green chillies at this point if you think your life needs more heat.

Mix together the following – 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder. Add 1 cup water, and combine them together so that no lumps form. When the tomatoes are soft, add this mixture and the peas. Cover and cook, simmered, till the peas are soft, roughly 6-8 minutes. Add the potatoes, half the bhaja moshla and cover yet again. Cook for another 5-6 minutes. Then add salt to taste. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the remaining bhaja moshla on top, and cover for 10 minutes to let everything settle down happily before you eat it with roti, rice, pulao, or, my favorite application – sliced bread.

If this Aloo Matar is not easy to make, I don’t know what is. So there! 

Written by Poorna Banerjee

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