Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Benarsi Chuda Matar- minus the frills!

This post was meant to be done quite some days ago. It's been lying in the draft from the day I actually cooked this recipe. One evening, spurred by my usual impulsive nature, I decided to make some Chuda Matar! I don't make it as often as I would like to because I restrict my carbs at every meal. But this one is a genuine weakness of mine and on my cheat days, I sometimes indulge. An all time favourite, tea time snack we love to eat by the bowlfuls during winters. A close cousin of the Maharashtrian 'Poha', this isn't that famous in all of northern region of India. It is infact kind of restricted to Eastern UP and Bihar- and maybe in Delhi, made famous no doubt,  by some UP immigrant! :) Anyhow, no matter where you may be from, once you have had this bowl of goodness, you will keep wanting more, and that is a promise. 

A quick and easy snack, flattened rice is stir fried in desi ghee along with fresh green peas available only during winters in the north. Ofcourse, here in Dubai, I am forced to use frozen peas, but I use so much of seasoning etc, I can recreate almost the same taste as the one we have back home. It can be made as mild or as spicy as you wish, the best thing is that it is so easy to customise and so I wouldn't worry too much about getting it right. It is a non fussy snack, the variations appealing to almost everybody. The Maharashtrian version uses tiny cubed potatoes and peanuts along with finely chopped onions.Some folks also add veggies like carrots, cauliflower etc. No thank you. The Benarsi method is usually easier and somehow has ended up being a very 'Jain' friendly dish. So we don't use onions or garlic. Fresh ginger is however liberally used, along with easy to assemble spices. The end result is a tangy-sweetish dish, a sure winner. If you like Poha, you will like any cousin of it too!

Here's what you will need: 

This recipe serves one if you are very greedy like me or else will do just fine for two people too

1 large cup of 'Chuda'- flattened rice
1 medium sized cup of fresh or frozen peas
1' ginger- finely grated
2-3 green chillies- chopped very fine
1tbsp finely chopped fresh corriander leaves


A pinch of aesafotida 
1 tsp  mustard seeds
1.5 tsp of cumin seeds
1tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper 
1 heaped tsp of mango powder or juice of one large fresh lemon
1 tsp sugar
1tbsp of  'bhuna masala' ( dry roast 1 tbsp of corriander seeds and 1tbsp of cumin seeds, cool, grind to a fine powder) 
1/2 tsp of any garam masala powder.
Salt to taste

2 tbsp full desi ghee

First off, take the chuda in a sieve. You need to be careful here, wash it quickly under running water no more than 10 seconds. I am serious about this step, if you exceed the time I recommend, you are likely to end up with a very lumpy dish in the end. But even before washing, just tap the sieve gently over the kitchen sink, any dust particles which dry chuda tends to have, will get 'dusted away'. Keep aside and let it drain. Like the in the pic below. 

Next heat the ghee in a large round bottomed wok. Once heated through, chuck in the aesafotida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them splutter for a few seconds. Add grated ginger now. Let it brown on a medium flame. Once the ginger starts getting golden brown and gives off an aroma , add in the green chillies and fresh peas. Saute and mix. 

Just as the peas begin to cook ( you may have to cover and cook them esp if you are using fresh ones), add in tumeric, chuda flakes, the rest of the spices, fresh corriander, salt and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Just before you will cover and cook this for about ten minutes, sprinkle the garam masala, cover and let cook on a low flame for about ten minutes or so. 

Keep the flame low else the chuda might start sticking to the bottom of your pan. The steam which builds up inside when covered, makes the chuda-matar just slightly moist and soft. The entire process from start to finish shouldn't take more than twenty minutes. Whatever time it does take is because of the need to cook peas. Once done, serve hot with wedges of lime and a hot cup of chai. 

PS- Some people do add raisins and cashews too,  which I personally really dislike. Serve this with a chutney of corriander or tamarind. I make do with ketchup usually. And mostly not even that, because I am too impatient to wait. 

                This is how the final dish is supposed to look, a brilliant yellow! 

Have it for your evening tea time, filling and super tasty. Minus the frills. 


  1. Yumm! I will try this recipe real soon! Thanks Harshika for this one!

  2. Definitely going to try this one over the weekend.....thank you for sharing Harshika.