I prefer to sprout lentils, grains, and beans before cooking. I reiterate in many of my posts that sprouts offer immense health benefits, and it’s the result of catching the shoots (sprouts) during the germinating process. The sprouted peas curry is a nutrient-dense and flavorful curry popular in Maharashtra, India, as ‘Vatana Usal.’ Many people garnish the curry with chopped onion, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and ‘thin sev.’ It pairs well with ‘pav’ (diner roll) and is a famous one-dish meal in India’s western part, as shown in picture #9. It’s popularly known as ‘Usal Pav.’ I like to pair the piping hot scrumptious curry with crispy okra-fry, low GI multi-grain roti, and a side of salad. It is a healthy and flavorful comfort food combo. Happy sprouting!
- 2 cups of sprouted peas.
(To sprout, wash and soak dried whole green peas overnight, i.e., 10-12 hrs. Then, drain the water, wrap the peas in a soft cloth, and transfer them to a covered bowl. Keep the bowl in a damp and humid place for 2 days for the pea shoot to grow.)
(Please note that 1 cup dried whole peas will get double in size after soaking & sprouting. Soak 1 cup of dry peas to get 2 cups of sprouted peas.)
- One large red onion.
- 1 small tomato.
- 3 large cloves of garlic.
- 1/4 inch of ginger.
(1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste, where garlic’s portion quite more than ginger.)
- A handful of cilantro.
- 2 tsp of sesame seeds.
- 3 tbsp of freshly grated coconut.
- 3 tbsp desiccated coconut (Kopra, aka, dry coconut.)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder.
- 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder.
- 2 tsp cilantro (coriander) powder.
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder.
- 3 tsp Maharashtrian ‘Goda’ masala.
(Please substitute it with the Garam masala if Goda masala not available.)
- 1/2 tsp Kanda Laun masala
(It’s garam masala with fried & crushed onion and garlic. The masala is available in most of the Indian grocery stores.)
- 1/2 tsp grated Jaggery,
(Jaggery is unrefined Indian palm sugar, which unrefined cane sugar most of the time. It also comes in other variables, such as date palm sugar. Substitute it with refined cane sugar if you don’t have Jagger easily available.)
- 1/2 tsp of ‘Kanda Lasun’ masala.
(Kanda-Llasun masala is quite similar to garam masala with garlic and fried onion as additional ingredients)
- 2 tsp oil for the masala, 2 tbsp oil for the curry.
- Water to boil peas and adjust curry’s consistency.
- Salt as per your taste.
(This curry with a side & bread serves 3 to 4 adults.)
- Pan roast sesame seeds and dry desiccated coconut. Keep it aside.
- Heat oil in a pan, add sliced onion, and fry until it’s golden brown.
(Sprinkle some salt after adding onions. It helps onion cook quickly.)
- Put the garlic cloves, cilantro, and ginger in it and stir for a couple of minutes. Next, add diced tomatoes to it, as shown in picture #3.
- Let the tomatoes cook until pulpy.
- Next, add sesame seeds, freshly grated coconut, desiccated coconut, and mix everything well, as shown in picture #4.
- Transfer the mixture into a blender and blend it to a fine paste. Keep it aside.
- Meanwhile, boil peas until cooked in 2 cups water and 1/4th tsp salt. I pressure cook the peas with one whistle. Please ensure the peas are not overcooked and mushy. Refer to picture #4 for the texture of cooked peas and how the blended masala paste looks.
(Alternatively, you can skip this process and add sprouted peas after tempering & roasting masala in the Instapot and cook everything together.)
- Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard seeds once the oil is hot and let them splutter.
- Add cilantro powder, cumin powder, turmeric, and Kashmiri red chili powder. Mix it in the oil and add the paste to it, as shown in picture #5. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes on a medium to low flame. Keep stirring occasionally.
- Next, add remaining spices, i.e., ‘Maharashtrian Goda’ and ‘Kanda Lasun’ masala in the masala base. Pour cooked peas and a cup of water in it. Add salt as per your taste. Boiled peas and the masala base has some salt, so please adjust accordingly.
(If you don’t have ‘Goda’ masala, substitute it with the garam masala of your choice.)
- Add jaggery and mix everything well, as shown in picture #7. Cover the wok with a lid and let the curry come to a boil. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
- The gravy will thicken after simmering; you can adjust the consistency by adding some water. I prefer to keep the gravy on a thicker consistency, as shown in picture #8.
- Transfer the peas curry in a serving pot and garnish it with cilantro and onion. People from the western India region like to pair this quintessential curry with ‘Pav,’ aka, Indian dinner rolls, as shown in picture #9.
You can use also use dry yellow peas instead of dry green peas and follow the same recipe for the variation. I paired the curry with stir-fried okra and wheat roti. A simple tip for making non-sticky okra-fry is to add salt in the end, after okra (Bhendi) is cooked. It prevents okra from getting sticky. I like to add fresh tender chili in Maharashtrian style okra preparation. If you’re using red chili powder instead, add it in the end, too, with salt.