A piece of fresh ginger about 4 inches long and 1 inch thick
3 T canola or other vegetable oil
1 tsp whole black (or yellow) mustard seeds
5 whole fenugreek seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 cups lightly packed, coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems (~ 1 large bunch, cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
1 fresh hot chili, finely sliced OR 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
4 cups frozen or fresh peas (about 1.3 lb frozen peas)
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
Peel the ginger and cut it into chunks. Add the ginger pieces plus 6 T water to a blender, and blend the mixture to form a smooth paste. (Alternatively, grate the ginger and mix it with the water.)
In a large saute pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Add the mustard and fenugreek seeds and quickly cover the pan. Let the seeds cook until you hear the popping noises slow down, and you smell a popcorn-like scent. (This takes just 10 or 20 seconds.)
Add the ginger mixture (pay attention, as it may spatter) and the turmeric. Cook the mixture for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the coriander and chilis (or cayenne), and cook two minutes more, stirring frequently.
Add the frozen peas and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the coriander, cumin, garam masala, and salt, along with 6 T water. Stir everything to mix in the spices. When the mixture starts to simmer, cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
This recipe is nice served with either rice or an Indian bread such as rotis (chapatis) or puris. You may also want to add on a dish of dal (lentils) or chickpeas (channa).
The dish can be easily adapted to your personal taste -- or what's in the pantry. For example, more or less cilantro will be fine, and you can add as many chilis as you like.
The recipe was adapted from one in Madhur Jaffrey's Invitation to Indian Cooking (New York: Vintage Books, 1973).
Page last updated: 12/10/08