by Priya Bala, Editor, PoshVine
There’s no underrating the goodness of eating produce that’s in season. You could begin by looking at the unpretentious pea…
Vegetable-buying becomes extra pleasurable in the winter. While we may not have extreme season changes here in Bangalore, the colder months see vending carts and vegetable stalls stacked with veggies that look crisper, brighter, juicier. Think of orange carrots, greens bristling with goodness and, best of all, piles of plump green pea pods.
In Europe, particularly in France, the arrival of fresh peas in the markets signals spring and the end of bleak winter. Which is perhaps why they so adore and celebrate the vegetable. French royalty was particularly partial to the first peas of the season. King Louis XIV was a big fan and had them planted in the gardens at Versailles. Contemporary French chefs, like the brilliant Guy Savoy, continue to put these little green gems on their menu, allowing their natural flavour to shine through.
Here, I tend to associate peas with the colder days of the year. In Madurai, which is my `native place’ we always got the variety grown in the Kodai hills. They were tender and sweet, requiring the lightest cooking. In Kolkata, they turn the abundance of winter peas into a lovely dish – the matarshutir kachori, the fresh peas ground to a paste, sauted with spices and stuffed into a luchi before being deep fried. It’s scrumptious.
My other favourite green pea dish is a simple soup. It’s really easy to make and tastes delightful.
To make a Green Pea Soup, you need:
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 250 gm fresh peas, shelled
- A sprig of mint
Heat the butter in a pan, sauté the onion for a couple of minutes. Put in the peas, stir them about to coat with the butter. Pour in 3 cups of water, add the mint and cook on a low simmer till the peas are soft.
Allow to cool a bit and then puree in a blender till smooth. Reheat the soup, adding salt and pepper to taste. Served with some crusty bread or cheese toast, this makes a lovely light meal.
You may add a little cream to the soup to make it richer. Some people also cook the peas in stock. But it works perfectly fine this way with the peas being the star of the show.