Spending much time on cooking has become thing of the past with the millennials, it seems. It’s rubbing on to me as well. I want to be in and out of the kitchen as soon as I can. This coconut sauce has become my ‘goto’ dish whenever I feel like some hot and comforting food. This recipe is modified version of the typical Indian aloo mattar (Potato and pea) curry. It takes me right back to my childhood when mum would make this with fresh rotis and me my brothers and sister would all huddle around mum and the earthen stove in the typical Indian kitchen.
The key with this dish is the sauce and then any vegetables, be it root veggies or brassicas such as cauliflower and broccoli. Add a cup of beans of some sort like soybeans, peas, chickpeas or black beans. Beans and chickpeas can take some time to cook so definitely not something you want to do on the fly. Soaking beans overnight helps speed up the cooking process as well as. Can of beans are handy when you’re working and there’s not much time to get groceries. I generally cook three different varieties of beans every weekend and keep them in frig. That solves the protein and the time problem to a large degree. Then it’s a matter of deciding on the day how you use these beans for i.e., bean chili, salad, dips, stews, hummus or curries.
For this particular recipe though I managed to get some fresh peas at the farmers’ markets. That’s what I enjoy about the markets even though some Saturday mornings it feels like big compromise on my sleep. The fresh peas tasted so different to the frozen ones, they had more nuttiness to them. With the potatoes any variety is good but I used the washed potatoes. With the coconut milk there’s such a variety available these days but get a good quality one. Sometimes the cheaper ones have a strong coconut taste more like rancid oil. You don’t need all your efforts to create such a delicious dish be undermined. The colour of onions can make difference to the colour of the dish slightly but nothing significant. I always use red onions for everything as they’re milder in taste and I love their colour. All of the ingredients in this recipe can be bought ahead of time i.e., on the weekend so you can focus just on cooking the days you make this dish. Do you ever notice that your mood and feeling impact the outcome of the dish big time. I have observed that with myself many times, the day I’m relaxed and focused on cooking the dishes come out a million dollar. This dish was done on a good feeling day, hence the lovely colours and the taste was amazing!! So, remember to use a lot of love when cooking this or anything for that matter.
This recipe is a delicious mix of flavours, tastes and textures in each bite. When you want to make aloo matar a little fancy add raw cashews to the preparation and what you get is this delicious cashew aloo matar. Potatoes and green peas cooked in a flavourful onion and tomato based gravy and the addition of creamy coconut milk is like a marriage made in heaven. Aloo matar paneer couples very well with ice or any of the Indian breads like roti or naan.
- 2 medium potatoes, cubed
- 1 cup green peas frozen or shelled
- 1 carrot thick sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cup fresh tomato puree
- 15 raw cashews, optional
- Oil 2 tbsp, olive or coconut oil
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- Salt to taste
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 ½ tsp coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ tsp garam masala
- Heat oil in a heavy based saucepan, add cumin seeds and sauté till lightly browned.
- Add onions and saute till transparent. Add in garlic and ginger paste and sauté till lightly browned, stirring frequently.
- Add potatoes, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder and mix.
- Add tomato puree and water, cover and cook till potatoes are almost done.
- Add green peas and cook with the lid on till the potatoes are cooked.
- Stir in coconut milk. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add cashew, garam masala and mix well.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with roti, naan or rice.
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