The fresh tender peas always remind me of Spring. Delicate wispy shoots, the nascent tender peas nestled close in their pods, the light green hue – all of it spell fresh and a new beginning.
We found fresh peas in the winter time in India. And after my dad came back from the market and dumped out the peas in the basket from the canvas bag that he always took to buy vegetables, I would rush there, squat on the floor and start shelling the peas and popping them in my mouth. The sweet peas filled in the senses delightfully. I simply had no idea about frozen peas for they never did make it to our home ever.
Talking of spring, look what we have!! Our very first strawberry. It was so tiny, sized like a blackberry, but the girls happily “shared” their first harvest of the year.
I have written before that I have sweet memories of spending many hours in the kitchen with maa shelling peas. It takes time, but a time well spent amidst stories and talks that I still remember and hold close to my heart.
It is not often that we get the fresh peas here. Life revolves around frozen peas, mostly for convenience. But once in a while when we do find them, the excitement in the children reminds me of my childhood.
Both my girls love eating raw frozen peas; tiny peas stuck together with all the soft fluffy ice on it. Strange but true. We have tried it and we like it too We also love the peas quickly made this way. Not over cooked, not mushed, but with a hint of seasoning and some lip smacking flavors.
If you are under the impression that recipes with Indian flavors require a lot of ingredients, you are wrong. This is one example (and there are a plenty) of a really simple side dish with very few ingredients. We munch on this more like a snack and even before I set the table for a meal, the peas are usually all gone.
Green Peas Stir Fry with Chaat Masala
- 2 cup shelled peas, (or frozen if you do not have the fresh ones)
- 1.5 teaspoon oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 green chili pepper (the hot kind) – very thinly sliced
- salt to taste
- 3/4 to 1 teaspoon (or to taste) Chaat Masala*
- fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (Optional)
- fresh lemon/lime juice
*Note: I have linked the Chaat Masala to the homemade recipe, but this spice mix is easily available in Indian groceries.
Heat oil in a pan; add the cumin seeds. When the cumin sizzles (which should be as soon as they hit the pan if the oil is hot enough), add the shelled peas and green chili pepper if you are using.
Give it a good toss and allow it to cook in high to medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the peas are just cooked through but still has the nice green hue to them. Toss/shake pan frequently. Some of peas might turn slightly brown on some part due to high heat, but it is okay. The trick is to cook quickly but in a way that all the peas come in contact with the hot surface of the pan, like in any stir fry. Watch out for you do not want boiled and mushy overcooked peas here. You should be able to bite through them.
Add the Chaat Masala, and give it a good stir. Adjust salt (the Chaat Masala already has some some in it). Remove from heat. Add shredded mint leaves if you are using and toss.
Serve hot or warm as a side or snack with a drizzle of fresh lime/lemon juice.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes (if shelling fresh peas) and none if using frozen
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Serving size: serves 2
Difficulty Level : Very Easy
Submitted at Fresh Produce Tuesday.