The title of this recipe ‘Spicy peas puff’ is sure to receive a few smirks and giggles from my bong friends (as bengali’s are endearingly called). The reason being the western translation of the name, which I have tried to keep as appropriate to a very traditional Bengali dish called ‘motorshutir kokhuri’. A must make during cold winter days when the local markets are swamped by fresh sweet peas in their pods!
So what is this dish, and why do I call it a puff ? The reason is simple, its a dough similar to that of a shortcrust pastry which is rolled out, stuffed and puffs up like a ball when deep fried in hot oil. So its my metaphorical adaption of an oven baked Cornish pasty to a fried Indian spicy peas puff !! Get it ?! If not make it and see it for yourself! Its a very easy dish to prepare which ideally ( that is in an ideal Indian home) will be eaten with a potatoes curry. Lets just take one step at a time, so learn to make just the puff and leave the potato curry for my next blog post.
This dish also makes a great picnic snack or a lunch box meal. Its wholesome and pretty easy as a finger food. You simply need to fry the puffs and take them along. Its soft so will stay well for the day without becoming hard or chewy!
In India, its only the fresh peas that one could buy, before the frozen once became popular. So planning on making spicy peas puff or anything related to peas would become a social activity with shelling peas while watching tele or chatting with friends .
I was only aware of the one kind of peas that is sweet peas, which I realised is called Garden peas in UK. That’s the kind that most people are used to, but there’e more to peas then being in a pod!! I soon discovered something called Snap peas and Snow peas, either of which has claws that snap nor grows in snow ! I wont go into finding why they are called this, but what I want to share is what I have learnt to be the difference between the peas!
How is Sweet Peas different to Snap Peas and Snow Peas ?
Garden peas, sweet peas, green peas many names for the one standard and most common peas used for cooking. They need to be shelled before they are eaten. The small firm and bright green once are the best to buy. However, the easiest and quickest way to buy is the frozen kind. But do try the fresh ones if you get them in the market, they taste so yum. Call friends over for a pea shelling and gossip session!
Snow peas, for records it does not grow in the snow! It is also known as Chinese pea pods since used extensively in Asian cuisine. Snow peas have a tough string on the edges which needs to be pulled out before consumption, although if they’re tender then you won’t need to. Snow peas are eaten whole, pod and all, and they’re good raw, blanched, or stir fried.
Snap peas, I don’t get the name for this one as it’s the most tender, crunchy and sweetest of the lot. (jealousy I guess) . Also called sugar snaps its like a cross between garden peas and snow peas. It too can be eaten raw or blanched and may have strings. Look for fresh once without any marks or bruises for eating as a salad or stir fried!
I have tried recipes with all kinds and will share them here in time to come, but for now do try making this sweet and spicy peas puff and let me know how it was!
Spicy peas puff
Deep fried sweet and spicy peas stuffing in a plain flour dough which is a great lunch box meal.
- Plain flour – 1 1/2 cup
- Oil – 1/4 cup
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Frozen Peas (thawed)- 2 cups
- Cumin powder Roasted and ground – 2 tsp
- Chili powder – 1 tsp
- Lemon juice – 2 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Oil for frying peas – 3 tbsp
- Oil for deep frying – 1 cup
- Knead plain flour adding 1/4 cup oil and 1 tsp of salt. Cover and set aside to rest for about 15 minutes. The dough should be soft.
Prepare the spicy peas filling
- Put the thawed peas in a grinder and grind it till coarse. Take care not to make it pasty or grind it too fine.
- Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the coarsely ground peas in the hot oil.
- Fry the peas until the moisture draws out and the peas start to dry out. This should take 8 – 10 mins.
- Next add salt and the ground spices and mix in well with the peas.
- Add lemon juice and remove from fire to cool. The spicy peas filling should be dry without much moisture in.
Rolling the Puff
- Take a small fist size ball of the dough and roll it to a 2 inch diameter circle.
- Take about 2 tbsp of the prepared spicy peas filling and place it in the centre of the rolled out pasty.
- Fold the pasty from all sides covering the filling to make into a ball again.
- Now roll the dough again to apprx 3 inch diameter circle, taking care that the filling does not come out of the dough.
Frying the Puffs
- Heat 1 cup of oil in a deep pan. Check the temp by dropping a small piece of dough into the oil and to see if it floats back up.
- Once the oil reaches the right temperature slowly put the rolled out spicy peas stuffed puff into the hot oil and let in brown on one side. This should take 50 secs to 1 minute.
- Carefully turn the puff around and fry the other side until golden brown in colour. This should take 40 – 50 secs.
- Remove from the oil and soak excess in a tissue.
- Eat the puff by itself or serve hot or cold with spiced potato curry.