Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rasawala Aloo Mattar Sabzi / Potato Peas Curry

This Rasawala Aloo Mattar sabzi holds a lot of nostalgic memories attached to it for my husband. In his words -
This Rasawala Aloo Mattar sabzi is an everyday staple for many north Indian households, although there may be wide variations in styles. In that sense, it is like the sambhar of the south. By its very simplicity, its recipe seems like a no brainer, but I discovered that there is one particular method or style that turns out really fabulous. For me, this Rasawala Aloo Mattar sabzi carries many old memories because this is the way my best friend's mother used to make it. In my teens, I have had many unplanned lunches at my friend's place, some as early as 11a.m. and some as late as 4p.m., but it used to be always called as 'dopahar ka khana'. These lunches were very gratifying. We used to have rotis straight off the stove, turn by turn, one after the other. We never counted the numbers but I guess we would have easily done double digits on most occasions. From those lunches, what tugged my heart the strongest was the steaming hot katori of aloo mattar rassa with lots of thin gravy, which was there most of the times.

But at that time I never gave a thought to what made those lunches very special. Almost twenty years later, I got a sudden craving, a tremendous yearning, a nostalgic bout, for those lunches. My friend no longer lived in that house or city or country, I no longer lived in that city or even the country, my friend's mother is no more. At that moment, everything seemed so far, so out of reach. All sorts of memories started crowding my mind. Sadly, it all seemed like the happenings of a bygone era.

If I had to do something about that strong bout of nostalgia, the only thing I could have done was to recreate that humble dish. Luckily, my friend and his wife had acquired some culinary skills from his mother. When I called up my friend to ask about the recipe, he could barely empathize with my immense urge to get to that dish and had faint memories about the details of those lunches. However, I got him to tell me how he or his wife made it usually, assuming that it would have some elements of the original. After all, both the son and the wife would have apprenticed in the mother's kitchen at least for a while. Thus, I set out to make aloo mattar rasa as per my friend's instructions. And yes, it did carry much of the flavor of the original because the taste immediately summoned up those old memories. Here then is the way to go.


Potato - 2, big
Peas - 1/3 cup
Onion - 1, medium
Tomato - 1, medium
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green chilli - 2
Coriander pwd - 2 tsp
Cumin pwd - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Kasuri methi - 1 generous pinch (optional)
Chop the onion, tomato, green chillies and ginger. Peel, wash and dice the potato and if using frozen peas defrost it. The cumin powder used is roasted cumin seeds which is then powdered.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the chopped onion, green chilli red chilli powder and turmeric powder and sauté till onions are translucent. Add the coriander powder and sauté for a minute. Add the peas and the potato pieces and sauté. Then add 3 cups of water and salt and when it starts boiling add the chopped ginger and tomato. Close the lid and give it 2 whistles. Then take it off the heat. Open the lid and put it back on heat. This is a rasawalla sabzi so add water to get a watery gravy consistency. Then add the cumin powder and kasuri methi (if using) and mix well, letting it simmer. Check for salt and add the chopped coriander leaves and take off the heat.

This Rasawala Aloo Mattar sabzi, as the name suggests is really rasawala, the best way to have this is to scoop aloo and matar with pieces of chapati and drink spoonfuls of the watery gravy in between mouthfuls. Keep refilling your bowl with the gravy.


Madhu said...

It looks absolutely yummy! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I had tried this many times , especially when I'm running short of time , very simple yet tasty . Thanks for sharing