Chooda Matar (Banaras Special)

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My Banarasi husband has been at it again. Ever since winter arrived in Delhi, he wants to eat Chooda Matar every second day. Well, again I had no clue what this dish was about. I only knew Kanda Poha and Roasted Chiwda. But thankfully, the foodie that he is, he was able to explain to me the ingredients that go into preparing this Banaras specialty food. It took me a couple of unsuccessful tries to finally get the flavor and the texture right, but the third time, I am told I came up with something that could give stiff competition to any Banaras vendor. Well, he keeps lavishing me with compliments like these, and I feel all the more enthusiastic about learning how to make new delicacies. So, coming back to Chooda Matar. Mind you, it is nowhere close to Poha or Chiwda. It is a meal in itself and so popular in Banaras that you find it being sold at every gali-koocha. Now that I have learnt how to make Chooda Matar the Banarasi way, how can I not share it with you! Try it once, and let me know what do you feel about the dish. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 bowl beaten rice (chiwda/poha)
1 bowl shelled peas
1 bunch coriander leaves (finely chopped)
1 bay leaf
2 dried red chillies
1/2 inch piece ginger (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt (to taste)
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon cream
2 tablespoons ghee

Recipe:

Soak the beaten rice in milk for 5 minutes. Strain and keep aside. Retain the milk left out after straining. Ensure that the beaten rice does not get lumpy.

Heat one tablespoon ghee in a pan. Add cumin seeds and allow them to crackle. Now add the bay leaf and dried red chillies. Stir. Add the crushed ginger and fry till it starts turning brown. Add the shelled peas and mix well. Add a cup of water and the milk retained after straining the beaten rice. Mix well. Cook on high flame till the liquids are almost dried up. Now lower the heat and add cumin powder, garam masala powder, ground black pepper and one teaspoon coriander powder sugar and salt. Mix well. Add the coriander leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Now stir in the cream and add the soaked beaten rice. Mix well. Add the remaining one teaspoon of coriander powder and one tablespoon of ghee and stir. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for two minutes. Remove from flame and serve hot.

Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂

PS: It is advisable to soak the beaten rice in milk after the ghee has been heated in the pan. Cooking the peas takes about 5 minutes and that is enough time for soaking the chiwda. You can also add cashew and raisin to the Chooda Matar if you like. I used them just for the garnish.

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