A curry from my Naani’s Kitchen
This recipe has memories, way back to my school Winter break, and our days in Naani’s home. It is a UP household, big joint family and their winter home in their sugar factory in Ismaila. Every meal used to be a traditional fare, and we would snuggle in our blankets with a live kitchen and the aromas of this Pea curry would just make us more hungry.
Nimona, a UP style pea curry, has a distinct style of cooking. Mashed peas cooked in a curry of onions and garlic ginger traditionally with tomatoes. But Maharaj ( the cook) used to make it in Ginger chili and tomato with green coriander, with a temper of asafoetida. As we were a no onion garlic kind of household. And someday he will throw in potatoes, another day he would use the Dal Vadi ( fried pulses cakes) to make a new dish. The potato and vadi add to a different dimension to the curry and one can make a choice. You may go in for just the peas, to enjoy the complete flavours of fresh peas.
The recipe here is just the way Naani made it, and the sweetness in the gravy is defined by the freshness of peas. So the challenge is to find the most tender peas around. Once you get them, half the battle is won. Rest the right masala, and a nice hot curry is ready to be enjoyed these winters.
Frozen peas can be used
Frozen peas can be used in summers to make this curry. But I personally wait for the fresh peas. And if making for the first time, I suggest the same.
We would love to dunk our hot paranthas and pooris in a bowl full of Nimona and just slurp. This is such a hearty dish, where u make the most of peas, while they are in season. The best way is to use a broad bowl and break your parantha or bread and dunk it deep into the gravy and have a mouth full, using your hands. This whole thing is so satisfying and flavorsome.
Years later now when I think, I realise our traditional recipes are ways to consume seasonal vegetables. this recipe consumes almost double the quantity of peas, which otherwise would make a meal for a family. Making it a wholesome bowl of nutrition.