Butter Matar

For me, peas are always on the grocery list, right after tomatoes, onion and potatoes. At any given time, I have at least 2 packets in the freezer. However, while trying to come up with a menu, it is the last thing that comes to mind. It is constantly neglected and, as is true for all things that are as taken for granted as the peas are, their presence is sorely missed in its absence. Making the heart grow fonder and all that. When I say neglected, I don’t mean that it is just left freezing in the icebox, not at all. It makes it’s appearance in all sorts of dishes. A dash here, a dash there, a whole lot elsewhere. However, it is more of “I think some peas would be good in that” than “I want to eat peas tonight” thing. And it is quite unfair.

Unfair because fresh tender peas, with its sweetness, is an amazing star in its own right. It doesn’t take much to coax it to come into its own. A dollop of butter helps, but then what wouldn’t taste good with some butter in/on it?

Which is why I say, second to potatoes, the most under-valued vegetable has to be peas (Matar/Watana/Watano). Think about it. When was the last time your inventory didn’t have the requisite packet of frozen peas in them or when was the last time you used that packet? Can’t really have been that long, if you cook Indian on a regular basis. And yet, quite like the potato, it is never given it’s due. Of course, the potato stopped getting any sympathy from me the day it decided to forge an alliance with a certain someone whose name rhymes with Aloo. Don’t get me wrong. In these times of brand development and media-franchising, I understand potato’s need for some PR-giri. “Jab tak rahega samose mein aloo, tab tak rahega Bihar mein Laloo” is the wrong way to get it, though. The right way would be to hire Amitabh Bachchan as your Brand ambassador. If I were the Peas’ PR, I would have Amitabh Bachchan saying,
“Matar mein hai dum, kyunki calories in mein hai kam!”.

Pssst, hot news today, Maya Pips Mulayam.

Meanwhile, back to the erstwhile peas, enjoy with soft rotis or Dal-Chaawal while I sit back and congratulate myself for not falling to the obvious Butter-Mutter-Matar wordplay trap.

Matar Butter

Grind, using a blender or a mortar/pestle adding water as needed

Garlic, 2 cloves
Ginger, 1″ piece
Green Chillies, 4-5
Cilantro/Coriander leaves, from 4-5 sprigs

In a skillet/kadhai, heat

Butter, 1 tbsp


Jeera/Cumin Seeds, 4-5

When they change color, add

Garlic-Ginger-Green-chillies-cilantro paste from above
Peas, 1 cup defrosted, if using frozen or cooked till soft, if using fresh
Salt to taste, keeping in mind salt from the butter

Mix and cook on a low flame till it all comes together, and peas turn fragrant with the paste about 3-4 minutes. Finish with

1 tbsp butter



18 thoughts on “Butter Matar

  1. Vee, this post yummy and hilarious ;). Come on, spare the spud yaar!
    Logon ne use majboor kiya uski kya galti thi 😀 Matar is good in its own right, i agree. How about SRK advertising for matar.

    MmmmmmmmMATAR 🙂

    SRK, stuttering and muttering about the Matar is not a bad idea at all. Aisa karte hain, first 2 seasons, we will have AB, Matar 3 to be SRK’s baby 🙂

  2. don’t you find the frozen peas too sweet, vee? i miss the fresh ones.

    I don’t find them as sweet as I find them to be insubstantial. For eg: a cup of fresh peas would provide much more fodder when ground than a cup of frozen ones. The frozen peas (I can talk only about those in the US) lack the chewy comfort of the fresh peas, I think.

  3. Vee, by the way did you read the Washington Post Food section on Wednesday Alphonso is coming to a Giant, Costo or Super Fresh near you soon. Anyway I forget what Happo had to do with everything.

    So is it Mutter or Matar? Hindi nai bolthi hoon. Yes butter with peas, my daughters favorite lunch but no spices just salt and ketchup.

    Hum yeh Khabar padha hoon or local costco ke chakkar kaata hoon, par kuch haath nahi aaya hai.
    I am sure you can read this ‘cos it’s in Bihari. 😉 you feed your child salt and ketchup? and you have a food blog??

  4. That is hilarious. I am completely with you regarding peas. Poor peas doesn’t stand on it’s own in any recipe. It is used in every other dish in my kitchen.

    Yes, mine too. Which is why I thought let’s give the poor peas their due. Thoda bahut to start with. 🙂

  5. If you have to sit and shell peas like we did in India, you would value peas, we really did. No need for PR we would anyway wait for fresh green peas available only in Winter
    Now with frozen peas the wait is over and we take it for granted

    and if you listen closely, you can hear the fresh matar muttering “Freezer ke matar, Daal barabar!”.
    Since, I refrained from the wordplay in the post, I make up for it in the comments section 😀

  6. Vee I know I know you will catch up on the ketchup 1
    and salt bit but what can I do, I am the foodie she is the junkie (I mean junk food lover)

    Hmmm, no “peas of the same pod” stuff for you ‘n your daughter, huh?? 😀

  7. I am a mega ‘fresh’ pea fan…but like any other indian household…i some frozen in the dark corner of my freezer some place…in fact I hardly buy frozen peas nowadays…fresh are available all the round year (almost)…gosh…will I be the first indian household not to have frozen peas in house…~grin~…ohh the shame of it…anyways peas are highly prized in my family…we even have some recipes why are dominated by peas alone…long live the Queen…long live the Matar…I say…~smile~…thanks for a great post..

    well, if only I was lucky enough to get some fresh peas. I haven’t seen fresh peas in years. As Sandeepa says above, peeling fresh pea-pods brings with it an appreciation for the vegetable. Particularly when 2 baskets of pea-pods turn into just a bowl of actual peas, and this after fighting off all the worms 😀 . I wouldn’t mind any of it if I can get my hands on some fresh ones, though.

    I will look forward to your family’s prized pea recipes on your blog.

  8. You’re right, peas are very under valued in our cooking. They’re a great addition to dishes but this recipe really calls on vatana to stand on it’s own, high and above all. Great recipe, thanks for sharing.

    Hi LiberalFoodie, welcome! I am trying to egg people to blog some of their pea recipes so that I can have more pea-centric food 😀

  9. Hi Vee, you have a great site. And your theme of your blog is what all of us are doing. Went through your other blog, I must say your post on your mother was very nice.

    Thanks Sri. My Mom happened to read that post on Mother’s day and we had a good heart to heart after that. Now my Dad thinks I should do something similar for him on father’s Day. 😀

  10. hey vee….

    nice blog u got here….just one question wanted to ask since a very long time….this “cup” thng has always confused me..how much is exactly one cup??

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