Aloo Mattar

Sorry I haven’t posted in so long, I’ve just been lazy. But I am going to make up for it with a totally awesome meal. The other day I couldn’t decide what I want to make for dinner, so I asked my boyfriend. He usually says “I don’t know”, but this time he actually had a request! He wanted this gravy peas and potato dish his mom used to make. After some research on the internet, I found what he was talking about. This recipe is based on the one from Manjula’s Kitchen called Aloo Mattar (Potatoes and Green Peas). And, he’s family eats roti, which I’d never heard of before. I am used to naan bread, but I thought I would try making it. And, since I had cilantro in the fridge, I decided to make a chutney too. I will post the other two recipes later, but here is the aloo mattar for now. 

A few of the spices might take a bit of work to find, but if I can find them on the Big Island, I am sure you can too. 

Aloo Mattar

3 medium boiled potatoes

2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 cup frozen green peas

1 minced green chili, minced

1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon asafetida
2 tablespoons coriander 
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika 
2 teaspoon garam masala
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Peal and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  
Add them to a pot of cold water and bring to boil on the stove. Cook until soft. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
Add the onions and cook until translucent. 
Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. 
Add the frozen peas and cook until warmed. 
Add the potatoes. 
Add the minced green chili, cumin, asafetida, coriander, turmeric, paprika, turmeric, and gram masala.  Mix together well and cook until for about 10 minutes, covered, and stirring occasionally. 
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they are soft. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with some cilantro. 
It is good on it’s own, but it is amazing with the cilantro chutney, which I will post tomorrow. Michael’s only complaint was it is more like “white people Indian food”….my answer was “well, a white girl made it!” hahahaha.  I really suggest this dish, it’s easy and so freaking good. 

Peas and Carrots Gravy, Brought to you by Foodbuzz and Green Giant

You know what is even better than delicious vegetables? Free delicious vegetables! Foodbuzz Tastemaker program selected me for a free product coupon from Green Giant. I’ve preached the benefits of fresh produce on my blog several times before, but I sadly know that fresh produce is impractical for some people. Sometimes life gets in the way of using that lovely fresh spinach or broccoli that you bought with the best intentions. You might be too busy, too broke, or have picky kids. This is not an excuse to cut vegetables out of diet all together. It means frozen produce is your best bet. And, as if always ripe veggies all year round wasn’t cool enough, Green Giant has steamer bags. You don’t have to dirty another dish.

I was very excited when my coupon came in the mail, mainly because I hardly ever win things. But sadly, when I got to the store, I got a little discouraged. I had a hard time finding a steamer bag product that was vegan. In order to make their products as convenient as possible, some of the steamer bags come in their own sauce, usually a butter or cheese sauce. Now, I want to stress that my discouragement is not Green Giant’s fault. They have several products in their line that are sauce-free and vegan. The lack of options was because I live on an island in the middle of the Pacific. I went to another larger grocery store, I found a bag of delicious Green Giant sweet peas. 

The minute I saw the bag, for some reason I thought of white gravy with peas and carrots. I imagined it over some breaded and baked tofu with a roll on the side. A very tasty Sunday night dinner. 

Peas and Carrots Gravy

1/2 of an onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced into pea-sized pieces
1/2 bag Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers Sweet Peas
1/2 cup to 1 cup of water or vegetable broth, for cooking the vegetables 
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup flour
2 cups water
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp oregano 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Chop the onions, garlic, and carrots. 

So, realized I didn’t have any oil or butter after I had chopped everything. I didn’t have enough money to run out and buy some, so I thought I would have to postpone this to Friday when I get paid again. Then I remembered a trick I saw on  VegWeb TV’s Youtube Channel. Sauté your veggies in a bit of water or vegetable broth! This won’t work if you want to caramelize, but just cooking through and softening is fine. This also cuts down on the fat too.

In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 cup of water or broth over medium heat. Once the water is heated, add the onions. Cook until the onions are translucent and the water is mostly gone.

Add some more water or broth, and then add the garlic and carrots. Cook until the carrots are soft and the water is mostly gone. 

While the carrots cook, microwave the bag of sweet peas according to the instructions. 

Add half the bag to the skillet, and save the rest for either a side dish or for something else. 

In a small bowl, mix together the 1 cup vegetable broth, soy sauce and flour into a slurry. Mix well to get the lumps out. 

Turn the heat down to low, and add the slurry to the skillet. The flour will start to cook and it will thicken up quickly. Just keep mixing so it doesn’t get lumpy. 

Add the final 2 cups of water and continue to mix until smooth. 

Add the sage, oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Let it cook a few more minutes on low to thicken up. 

I served the gravy generously over some breaded tofu from my South Dinner post, except I baked it instead of frying it, and a homemade roll. I even had some peas on the side for some extra green. 
The gravy is creamy, rich, and just a hint of sweetness from the peas. I will happily be eating the leftover gravy for the next few days. Thank you Foodbuzz and Green Giant! 

Curried Split Pea Soup

I’ve had a bag of dried split peas sitting in my cupboard for awhile now. I saw them while I was cleaning my kitchen today and thought I should actually do something with them. So I decided to make good ol’ split pea soup. I hated split pea soup as a kid. Canned ones were way too mushy and way too salty. And homemade ones had chewy, overcooked ham pieces. So gross. But awhile ago I saw Alton Brown make a Curried Split Pea Soup on Good Eats and my faith was restored. His soup was smooth, not mushy, and properly seasoned. My version is based on this recipe, just minus the ham and add some green bean for extra nutrients. 


Curried Split Pea Soup
1 cup dried split peas
1 tps of vegan butter
2 cups water
Pinch of Salt
2 cups green beans, fresh or frozen, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tbs curry powder
1 tbs garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Put the split peas in a bowl and pick out all the bad looking pieces. Cover with water and soak for at least 2 hours, overnight if you can.

Drain and rinse the peas.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the peas and cook until slightly tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the two cups of water and the pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer then cover and cook until completely tender, 10-15 minutes.

Transfer the peas to a bigger pot. You could saute them in the pot too, but I think they cook more evenly in the skillet.

Whether using frozen or fresh green beans, cook them first. I used frozen so I microwaved them. I suggest steaming fresh ones. Add the cooked beans to the pot along with all the remaining ingredients, then mix together.

To make the soup a thicker, puree it in a blender. Reserve about a cup and half of the pea and bean chunks first to add back in after. This way the soup has some texture and isn’t just green mush.

Once it is pureed to a smooth texture, return it to the pot and add the reserved chunky soup back in. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 25 minutes.

Ladle into serving bowls and enjoy. The curry gives it nice background flavor without overpowering the richness of the peas and beans. Love the color too.