Spicy Indian Green Peas ~ Matar Bhaji

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I’m back from the mayhem of my Silk Road Vegetarian book launch. It was so much fun and humbling that there was such a nice turnout. Probably nothing worse than coming to your own party and being the only one there! So now that it’s done, I can move on with posting some new recipes.

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I love fresh from the pod green peas, although when I can’t get them I go for a bag of frozen peas. Now when you slather these peas in coconut oil, ginger and some red pepper heat, you have got an outer world experience with green peas. I kid you not. The combination of the three ingredients brings out the sweetness in the peas, coupled with the peppery ginger and coconut – it’s a dance on your tongue. This is a lovely side dish with a bowl of lentils and a side of some of your favorite rice.

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Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup 100% organic coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons grated gingerroot
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon unrefined whole cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons minced fresh red chili pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh green chili pepper
2 ½ cups fresh peas (shelled) or frozen peas (defrosted)
Directions

1. Pour oil into large skillet or deep frying pan and heat over medium-high heat, about 1 minute, until hot.
2. Add oregano and cumin seeds and fry over medium heat for about 1 minute.
3. Add gingerroot and turmeric and fry an additional minute, mixing well.
4. Stir in sugar, salt, minced chili peppers and peas. Mix well, reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Remove lid, and stir again. Continue to cook, uncovered, until the peas become a dull green-brown color and are very tender, about 13 to 15 more minutes.
6. Serve hot with your favorite rice.

Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry

This is a variation of Aloo Gobi; a Punjabi classic made with potatoes (aloo) and cauliflower (gobi), however I have omitted the potatoes to lighten up on the carbs. I love Indian food because it’s inexpensive and relatively simple to prepare, but more importantly, it never fails to light up my eyes, nose and tastebuds with its piquant flavors and vivid colors. This dish is filling, without being a total carb bomb (sans potatoes) and the leftovers are good for a couple of lunches during the week.The combination of cauliflower and green peas may not sound like much, but they happen to be the perfect canvas to paint on the vibrant flavors of ginger, garlic and onions. The turmeric does it’s part by imparting a golden hue to the cauliflower contrasting to the green peas, making this dish look exciting. Indian food is all about the use and combination of spices for amazing flavors.  Even though there are a lot of spices in the ingredient list, you will find that they are staples to the Silk Road repertoire. Serve alongside basmati rice.
Serves 6
Ingredients
 
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
1/4 cup water
2 cups green peas
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh parsley, for garnish
Directions
  1. In a large skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and turmeric and saute until they begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 7 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger, and saute until fragrant.
  2. Add the cauliflower and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the water, peas, salt, pepper and red pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is fork tender, but not mushy. Serve in a bowl or platter, garnished with parsley.