Peas and potato with Nigella – it exudes instant happiness and joy in my heart. Coming up with recipe names can be such a big ask! I realised this big time when I started documenting recipes in this blog. I am a huge fan of Nigella Lawson and the mention of nigella seeds brings up her bright smile in front of me! Oh sorry, if you were under the impression that Nigella will join you for dinner if you made this recipe, I am afraid you are in for an enormous disappointment. Although I cannot guarantee, who knows, maybe someday You and I will have a tete a tete with Nigella over peas and potatoes! However, one thing I can guarantee is that this dish will make you and .your family’s tummies smile.
The simple flavours and colours of this dish make it ‘sattvic/sattvik’ in nature and you can add it as part of your healthy meal. Make it fresh and enjoy the benefits of home cooking without any fuss. This recipe does not call for any ginger or garlic, or ground spices (except for turmeric and asafoetida) so no grinding or chopping except for the potatoes!
Green peas are fibre rich and one of the best sources of plant-based proteins. It is also a good source of iron. They are fairly low on calories and contain several vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Because of their low glycemic index and high fibre and protein content, peas may help support blood sugar control. Green peas also have heart-healthy minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. Diets containing these nutrients may have a positive effect on heart health.
We commonly call Nigella seeds black cumin or kala jeera or kalonji. They have been used for centuries to cure various ailments because of their medicinal properties. These are also popularly used in food as a spice in South East Asia. Research has shown that nigella seeds have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-asthmatic properties. Recently my best friend suggested that I take toasted and ground nigella seeds and black pepper along with honey to cure my persistent cough (aftermath of Covid 19). I can confidently say, it does give relief and helped me get better! I generally buy the Natco nigella seeds from my local grocer.
Ingredients for Peas and Potato with nigella seeds
There are just four main ingredients needed (ok four three more if you include chillies, turmeric, salt and oil!)
Peel and cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch dice. Try to cut them as evenly sized as possible; this will allow them to get cooked at the same time.
You can use frozen or fresh peas for this dish. I generally use the frozen ones. I find them handy and my freezer is always stocked with a packet throughout the year! These are so versatile and you can steam them, boil them, mash them, or make a delicious sabzi with potatoes or mushrooms. Or make your chicken curry more healthy by chucking a bowl of peas into it.
The distinctive earthy flavour in the dish comes from the oil tempered with nigella seeds.
This pungent smelling spice is available in Indian grocery stores in the UK. It comes in powdered form or in small chunks. In India, it is popularly called hing. Use just a pinch of it and it will release its aroma when cooked and doesn’t taste bitter or smell bad. In Indian cooking this is used in place of onion, garlic hence is used in Jain and Brahmin Indian cooking. I have given a link to an interesting article by Priya Krishna of bonape’tit about asafoetida. It also has its health benefits.
This dish can be made in a few minutes in a pressure cooker too. But here I am making the pan version.
Step 1: Prepare and keep all the vegetables ready on the side.
Step 2: On medium-low flame, temper hot oil with nigella seeds, asafoetida powder, green chillies and turmeric.
Step 3: Next add the potatoes and saute for a couple of minutes.
Step 4: Next add the peas and saute for another couple of minutes.
Step 5: Add half a cup of water, cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes till the potatoes become soft and tender.
Serve hot with chapatis/rotis, or rice.
Peas and Potato with Nigella| Quick Weeknight Dinner
- 1 Saute pan
- 1 large potato
- 2 cups green peas fresh or frozen
- 2 fresh green chillies split lengthwise
- ½ tsp nigella seeds
- ¼ tsp asafoetida powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped optional
- Peel and cut potatoes into small cubes
- Heat oil in a saute pan on medium-low flame.
- Add nigella seeds, as soon as they splutter, add the asafoetida powder, green chilies, and turmeric powder. Stir for a few seconds.
- Now tip in the potatoes, add salt, stir and saute for 2 minutes.
- Next, add the peas, mix well and saute uncovered for 2 minutes.
- Now add about half a cup of water, raise the heat and let it come to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a minimum, cover the pan with the lid and let it cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir again after 10 minutes, there should still be some water in the pan. Cover again and let it cook for another 10 minutes on low heat.
- The potatoes should be cooked and soft by now, if it still has a bite to them, cook for a few more minutes until done.
- Remove from heat, garnish with chopped coriander. Your simple, effortless yet flavourful, and nutritious pea and potato dish is ready to be served. Serve hot either with roti, boiled rice, or bread.