At first I thought I should stay away from the normal and mundane. But I also know that more often than not I am looking for someone else’s normal and routine; something that will take the same-old-same-old out of my lunch and yet have the same simplicity and wholesomeness that comes from tradition; from generations of being tested in home-kitchens till perfect. Most of the ‘new’ dishes I have tried from other bloggers are what are obviously their everyday favourites.
So I present today the humble carrots and peas with dill. Dill (soa/soya ka saag) is another of our winter greens, but one that finds few none takers in this household. But I, fearlessly, feed them this dish at least a couple of time every winter, hoping it will grow on them. As for me – well – I simply love it.
This combination of vegetables is inspired from the UP Kayastha cuisine, though it is not a handed-down recipe. But then again, there is a pretty good chance, it is cooked exactly so in some Kayastha household. Relying very lightly on the ubiquitous north-Indian spice combination of cumin-heeng-turmeric- coriander powder-red chilli powder this dish rests on dill for the main flavouring. Dill is a somewhat strong herb but in this dish it mellows on account of the sweet carrots and peas. Be sure to use tender sweet peas and not those over-plumped lentil-ly kind. Indian carrots are also much sweeter and watery with a deep red colour; but at a pinch, you may use the orange English carrots.
Carrots, Peas, and Potatoes with Dill
3 carrots, scraped and diced
1 potato, scrubbed and diced
1 C fresh/frozen peas (I am still using the peas I froze last winter)
2 C chopped dill
1 t cumin
1/2 t mustard seeds (optional)
a pinch of heeng
½ t turmeric
1 t coriander powder
½ t red chilli powder
3 t oil (if you want authentic UP, then mustard oil)
Heat oil to near-smoking in a heavy pan or karahi. Add the spices in the order listed. Stir to mix (just a few seconds) and drop in the diced carrots and potatoes. If using fresh peas, throw them in as well. (I was using thawed frozen ones, which don’t need much cooking, so I added these when the carrots and potatoes were almost done.) Add the salt, mix, turn the heat down, and cover. Let cook about 15 min. stirring occasionally. Add the chopped dill and mix well. Cover and cook another 5 min. or till the vegetables are done.
Best served with dal-roti or dal-chawal (rice), and a bowl of dahi (yoghurt). Yum. Home food, at its best. Yet again.
PS: WordPress now warns me everyday that I have used up 26% of my space. So there are going to be fewer (and smaller) pictures from now on 😦 Blogger is so much more generous; six times more generous, but it would not let me keep my blog name. And I just could not call my blog anything but.