On our way to Santa Cruz, we stopped by this small store. It was very interesting because I hadn’t seen any store sell unpackaged pulses in the US, like they do in traditional grocery stores in India. By traditional I mean, the stores that have continued to sell cereals and pulses unpackaged, so that customers can pick and choose the variety they want and a quantity they prefer. Most supermarkets and retail stores have started selling packed grains. If there is such a store near you, it will be fun for you to try small quantities of different beans. If not, there is always the supermarket for you to experiment with a new bean every time you shop.
Pulses are an important source of proteins for vegetarians and more so for vegans. Besides proteins, they provide a good amount of fiber, potassium & B-complex vitamins. I think I love cooking dried peas in particular, both white and green. They taste great even with minimal spices. My mom makes ragda, a dried peas curry/soup in many different ways. This is one of the simplest ways to make this dish. You can serve this as a creamy soup with toasted & lightly buttered whole wheat bread and a side salad, or serve it with whole wheat chapatis or rice with a side salad. Hope you can try this recipe and let me know if you like it!
Per serving : 153 cals | 8 g proteins | 8 g fiber | 5 g total fat
Ingredients (6 servings)
1 cup green dried peas, soak overnight
½ onion*, finely chopped
1” ginger, chopped & mashed
¼ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp red chili powder
1/8 tsp asafetida
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp oil
¼ cup lightly packed Cilantro, chopped
Salt as needed
* ½ US onion = 1 Indian onion
- Wash and lightly rinse 1 cup of white or green dried peas and then soak overnight in 2 cups of water. Next morning pressure cook for about 10 minutes on low heat after the pressure regulator starts to rock (in case of a Presto/ any American pressure cooker that does not whistle) or 10 minutes on low heat after the first whistle (in case of Indian pressure cooker). If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can cook the peas on low heat till done. It may take around 20 minutes. You can pressure cook dry beans/peas and keep them in the refrigerator for using it the next day or some time in the week, or you can cook them before going to work while you eat your breakfast and then prepare the curry in the evening after work. Alternatively, you can cook them in the evening while you are preparing the curry. You can figure out a way to manage this within your schedule. If it’s very difficult, then get the cans of cooked beans/ peas (preferably without preservatives).
- Heat oil in a steel pot and when it’s warm enough add cumin seeds along with a bay leaf. When the cumin seeds sizzle, add the asafetida. Asafetida can get burnt if you add before the cumin seeds sizzle. Asafetida imparts a nice flavor to the dish. However, you can skip it if you don’t have it in your pantry.
- Then add the chopped onions and sauté till light brown on medium heat. Sprinkle red chili powder and sauté for a minute.
- By now, your dried peas might be ready. Transfer them to the pot and add the mashed ginger, 1 cup of water, some salt and chopped cilantro.
- Let the ginger flavor blend in with the peas for 2-3 minutes. If you add ginger early on, it will lose some of its flavor. Adjust the red chili powder to your liking!
- Serve with a fresh garnish of cilantro sprig. Bon appétit!