Carrot has never been my favourite among savoury side dishes. My mum used to make this methi gajar (carrot stir fry with fenugreek leaves) which I absolutely hated at the time. On the other hand, I love any sweet or dessert made of carrots like Gajar halwa or carrot kheer.
Over time now, I have come to terms with this veggie. I am still not a big fan of savoury dishes where carrots are the star ingredient but I like them mixed with other vegetables. So the sweet taste doesn’t bother me much. Rather it complements the other vegetables its cooked with which kind of brings in more flavours onto the plate.
This recipe is of one such dish. Carrots stir fried with green peas. Sounds very mundane but a little tweak in the procedure and ingredients and it gives you the best of the taste as a simple side dish.
I learnt this recipe from one of my friend’s Mum. I was at her place for a night’s stay and we were chatting up till late night. It was about 2 AM when we started feeling hungry again so we tip toed into the kitchen to see if there are some leftovers from dinner. The only thing there was some chapathis and this gajar matar sabzi in a small container. My heart sank when I realised that’s the only thing remaining since I hadn’t touched it during the dinner time at all. But well, there was no alternative. So we jumped in to finish what was left.
And I swear by the old gods and the new (I am watching GoT, you can tell!), that was one of the most satisfying and delicious meals of my life. his combination never tasted so exotic and well, not mundane.
The next morning I asked Aunty about the spices she had used in the dish. Turned out, there was none. Yes, there was no spices used in the dish at all. Perhaps that was the reason why it tasted so fresh and different. We are so used to eating food laden with spices that it gets hard to remember the actual taste of the vegetables.
Never mind, I have started using this “less spices” method of cooking for my everyday meals. And some of the recipe I have tried this are Jain style Methi alu, Ghee jeera lauki, Aloo matar rassa etc. I do add cumin and turmeric though to enhance the digestibility and taste. But you can omit that too if you want.
I am going to post more recipes in this line. In the meanwhile, enjoy this North Indian dish using minimal spices. This recipe uses lots of onion, and you can check out more of my no onion-garlic dishes here
Gajar Matar sabji | Minimally spiced easy carrot & peas stir fry
- 4-5 in carrots rinsed and diced small circles/cubes
- About 100 gms of green peas thawed if frozen
- 3-4 garlic pods minced
- piece A small of ginger minced
- 2-3 pound green chilies minced (I all three above together in a mortar and pestle)
- 1 large onion chopped small
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp cumin seeds jeera
- ¾ tsp salt OR to taste
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add in cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle. Then add ginger, garlic and green chilies and fry for a couple of seconds.
Next, add in the onion and let them cook for a few minutes. This step is important since if the onion is cooked well, it brings in really good flavours to the dish. So cook it till it starts leaving the oil at the sides and turn pinkish-brown
Add salt and turmeric. Mix and add diced carrots and peas. Mix well and let it cook with a lid on, at medium gas setting for a couple of minutes. Keep stirring in between to avoid it getting burnt.
When the carrots are tender enough as per your desired taste, and the green peas have shrunken a bit, give a final stir and turn off the gas. Serve hot and fresh with phulka roti
This stir fry tastes best when fresh. Carrots release water when kept at room temperature so when you reheat this dish, the taste wouldn’t be the same. So I would suggest not to keep this in fridge to reheat it later.
You may adjust the green chilies as per your taste and also add red chili powder accordingly.
More simple every day meals you might like:
Bengali Aloo posto– Potato stir fry with poppy seeds
Aloo palak- Potatoes cooked with spinach and spices
Punjabi aloo gobhi– Potatoes and cauliflower stir fry
Maharashtrian batata chi bhaji– Potatoes cooked with coconut and curry leaves