Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gajar Matar (Carrots and Peas)

Earlier this week I shared a delicious recipe for Murghi aur Masoor Dal, or Bombay-style Chicken with Red Split Lentils. I paired this braised Indian chicken dish with a vibrant side dish called Gajar Matar, or carrots and peas. I have to say, carrots and peas never tasted so good.

This is a very simple vegetarian side dish that is packed full of flavor. Onion, garlic, and ginger start the dish, but then many different spices are layered into the mix. The optional addition of pomegranate seeds (hey, they're in season right now!) adds a bit of crunch and a tart burst of flavor every bite or two.

I actually halved this recipe since it was going to be a side dish, and I already had a ton of chicken in lentils and basmati rice. Half the recipe was easily enough for three of us as a side dish with our chicken, lentils, and rice. This Gajar Matar is high on my list for future Indian dinners, both for its simplicity and incredible flavor.

Gajar Matar (Carrots and Peas)
Serves 6
(Adapted from The Food of India)

1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
325 g (11 1/2 ounces) carrots, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
250 g (1 2/3 cups) peas
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Indian red chili powder (you can substitute cayenne)
4 teaspoons pomegranate seeds (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Put the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor and blend until finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the onion mixture and stir over high heat for 2 minutes, or until softened. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cumin seeds and turmeric. After 1 minute, add the carrot and stir for 2 minutes. Add the ground cumin and coriander and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the peas, salt, sugar, and chili powder. Add 2 tablespoons water if using frozen peas, or 4 tablespoons if using fresh peas.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the pomegranate seeds, if using, and stir before partially covering the pan. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the carrot and peas are tender. Stir in the garam masala and serve.


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