This Green Peas Masala is a warming, finger-licking delicious curry for your next Indian meal. This dish stands apart from the other versions due to this one vegetable that I hated eating growing up! And no, its not green peas 🙂 This curry is creamy, flavorful and hearty. It calls for a few extra minutes for prep but you would agree its completely worth the effort once you taste some!
Growing up in Southern India in the 90s, eating out meant heading to a local Northern Indian restaurant once a month or two. During these visits, one of the dishes that we always got was this dish called green peas masala. Those memories are some of the happiest ones from my childhood but strangely enough I never tried it anywhere else because it was not on the menu.
Now I have been trying to recreate this dish for the last few years but in all of my research and all the recipes I tried out did not recreate the dish I remembered from my childhood. A couple of months ago I was trying to cook this and decided to experiment with different ingredients. That’s when I hit the nail on the head!
What is green peas masala?
The star of this dish as stated by the title is the green peas but also…green bell pepper! Yes, this is the vegetable I grew up with a strong dislike since it was mostly overcooked in all the dishes. Thankfully I discovered better ways to cook it once I started cooking and now eat it quite often.
This green peas masala is a vegan gravy studded with peas and bell pepper. The gravy is made from onions, cashews which adds creaminess and bell pepper(again!). A lot of gravy based dishes from the Indian sub continent is based on a paste of tomatoes and onions ground together with spices. For this dish though, I swapped out the tomatoes with green bell pepper.This adds a dash of flavor unlike anything else you have tasted. I specifically state the color here because it differs from bell peppers which are orange, red etc. The green pepper also add to the color of the dish. I did use fresh cilantro to give it more of a greenish tinge.
Tips for making green peas masala
Roasting the veggies and cashews for the masala well is what will bring a lot of flavor to the dish. We will initially sauté the onions, green bell pepper, green chillis and cashews well in a wide pan with some oil. Once you see both the vegetables and cashews change color, turn off the heat and let the ingredients cool down.
Cashews – Raw cashews are used in the recipe but if you have roasted or salted cashews, you can use that as well. Be mindful of the salt it contains and adjust accordingly.
If you find your green bell pepper tends to be a bit on the bitter side, then try peeling the skin before using it in a dish.
Give it time – The secret to a really good green peas masala and every other Indian dish is to let the spices cook long enough and meld together with the other ingredients. This is the difference between a good and a great dish.
Substitutions for cashews – If you are specifically allergic to cashews or dont have any on hand, then you can use almonds instead. If allergic to nuts in general, then unsweetened oatmilk or soymilk is your best bet. Try using a creamy or full fat version for extra creaminess. You can also use full fat coconut milk or regular heavy cream if dairy is not an issue.
What do you serve it alongside?
This is a dish that will go great with flatbreads like chapati, naan etc. It will also go great with plain white or brown rice, jeera rice, pulao etc. Other sides that will go great are slices of raw cucmber, onion, Indian pickles and wedges of lime/lemon.
Storage – This can be stored in the refrigerator easily for 2-3 days. If you would like to freeze it for future use, then place ina. freezer safe container once cooled to room tempertaure. Reheat by placing in oven safe bowl/container and cooking at 350 deg F for 40-50 minutes in the oven. Pull out of the oven a couple of times to give it a gentle stir whilst reheating.
Green Peas Masala
For the masala paste
- 2 Fresh Green Bell Peppers medium sized, sliced
- 1 Red/Yellow Onion sliced
- 1 cup Cilantro
- 1/2 cup Unsalted raw cashews
- 3 Green chillis whole
- 2 tbsp Avocado Oil
- 1 cup Water adjust as required
- 1 Red/Yellow Onion finely chopped
- 1 Fresh Green Bell Pepper diced
- 3 cup Green Peas Frozen or Fresh
- 2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
- 3 Green chillis slit or chopped, omit to keep spice level low
- 2 Green Cardamom
- 5-6 Cloves
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek)
- Cilantro for topping
- 1 tbsp Avocado oil
- Water for thinning out gravy as needed
- Salt as required
For the masala paste
- Heat a wide pan to medium heat and add the 2 tbsp of oil. Once the oil is hot, add all the ingredients except the cilantro. Sauté regularly until the ingredients are well roasted and nicely browned. Turn off the stove and keep the contents aside to cool down.
For the remaining dish
- Add the remaining oil in the same pan and let it get hot. Add the whole spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the finely chopped onion and fry for 3-4 minutes.Add the ginger- garlic paste, green chillis and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the peas and cook for 2 minutes. Now add the turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the diced bell pepper and mix.
- While this is cooking, add the cooked mixture for the masala paste in a blender along with the cilantro and water. Blend until the mixture is fairly smooth.
- Now add this paste in to the peas mixture. Mix well and add water if it too thick. Season as required and cover the pan. Let the mixture simmer for 7-10 minutes.
- Once the peas are well cooked, add the kasuri methi and top with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with rice or Indian flatbreads.
- Choose the number of green chillis per your preference for spice level.
- If you don’t have raw cashews, sub with salted and roasted cashews. Adjust your salt accordingly.
- If using frozen ginger and garlic cubes, add garlic and ginger in the ratio of 2:1.
- If the dish ends up being too spicy, add a few spoons of oat/coconut milk or some vegan cream to tone down the spice.