We were in Amritsar recently, and the fresh vegetables caught my friends eyes and she really wished to take some back home.
Alas! We had all shopped so much (and hey! it was cold, we had heavy jackets as well!), that our bags were collectively over weight. My poor bereft friend had to let go of the farm fresh vegetables. But to make things a wee better we had true Punjabi Warian with us.
Many years back I had Matar Ka Nimona at my cousins place. I remember eating bowl fulls much to her delight and finally to her dismay. She was worried I would get an upset stomach!!
This is actually a dish famous in Uttar Pradesh. It is mostly made during the winters when the peas are fresh and juicy. Wadi (Warian is Punjabi) in Uttar Pradesh, is made with fresh white pumpkin, urad dal, and garam masala. It’s dried in the heat of summer and remains intact for the year round.
I made this recipe many times last year. It’s very suitable to the Indian palate. Too alien for foreigners. It goes well with any kind of Indian Roti. Even tastes good with rice.
You can easily avoid the onion and garlic and reduce the spice quotient. But some amount of spice is definitely needed, don’t do away with it totally. I prefer to make this without the onion and garlic.
There is something about this dish, which appeals to me greatly. The mouth feel of the pea paste and a subtle hint of flavour left behind by the cooking wadi, and then of course the wadi itself, along with a soft pillowy taste of potatoes cooked in the simmering gravy. The gravy tends to thicken as it goes, and thickens even more when it’s left till it is consumed. So, adding enough water is essential, and just before serving (if made a little ahead of time) add a little salted water and cook till boiling and serve immediately.
Try and get small fresh peas. That will lend to the dish an inherent sweetness, which when combined with the garam masala of the wadi makes it resonate in your mouth.
- Make a coarse paste of the peas, onion, garlic, green chilly, ginger and keep aside.
- Break the warian into small pieces. The warian should be broken into pieces which would fill appx half a tablespoon. We don't want powder here.
- Chop the potato into 10 large pieces and keep aside in water.
- On medium flame, add the ghee. When hot but not smoking, add the cumin and bay leaf and lastly the hing.
- Now add the warian and fry for appx 2 minutes.
- Then add the pea paste and fry till it becomes a bit dry.
- Now add the potatoes and fry again for a minute.
- Add the red chilly powder.
- Keep stirring as the pea paste will get caught at the bottom.
- Scrape all the brown parts stuck at the bottom and now add the water.
- Cover and let it simmer till the potato has cooked.
- As soon as the potatoes are done turn off the fire.
- Please make this dish as close to serving as possible, because the peas, potato and warian all soak up the water, and your dish will start drying out and becoming thick. Good gravy is the key to this dish.