Get a taste of what’s to come from my new cookbook, Veg-Table that comes out on October 24, 2023!Print
4 1/4 cups/1020 ml water
1 1/2 cups/300 g dried yellow, white, or green peas, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
fine sea salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp/60 ml neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as grapeseed
3 medium/total weight about 900 g yellow or white onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
6 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup/40 g fresh, frozen, or desiccated unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 tsp garam masala, homemade or store-bought
4 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp ground Kashmiri chilli powder
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat 3 cups [720 ml] water; peas, 1 tsp fine sea salt; and baking soda. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the peas are completely cooked and tender, 45 to 75 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside the peas with the cooking liquid. No need to remove the skins that will have risen to the top, but if you must, use a slotted spoon to skim them out.
In a medium skillet, warm 2 Tbsp neutral oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add 2 medium/600 g yellow or white onions, halved and thinly sliced. Sauté until they start to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic. Sauté until warmed and fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the coconut. Sauté until the coconut begins to darken slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender or food processor.
To the blender, add garam masala; 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro; Kashmiri chilli powder; and 1 cup [240 ml] water. Pulse until smooth.
Clean the saucepan and warm 2 Tbsp neutral oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 onion, and sauté until light brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, then stir in the ground coconut mixture and cook until it starts to bubble, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, sugar, and 1/4 cup [60 ml] water. Once the mixture begins to bubble again, lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the saucepan and the fat begins to separate, 5 to 8 minutes.
Fold in the peas with the cooking liquid. Taste and season with fine sea salt. Bring to a boil over high heat to warm the peas through, and then remove from the heat. Garnish with 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro.
Serve hot or warm with plain rice or flatbread. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 1 month in a freezer-safe airtight container.
- Dried white, green, or navy peas can be found online or in Indian grocery stores. They will be labeled as vatana or dried peas.
- For a deeper coconut aroma, use coconut oil.
- When boiled, the peas will release their skins, which will accumulate on the surface of the water. You can leave them in if the texture doesn’t bother you; otherwise, skim them off with a slotted spoon and discard.
- Substitute: 1 tsp ground Kashmiri chilli powder or 3/4 tsp smoked sweet paprika + 1 /4 tsp ground cayenne);