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Matar Chaat Spicy (Dry White Peas or Field Peas)
Matara ki Chat

Abha Gupta

This is a delicious yet easy snack to make, using dry peas, 'matara or matra' in Hindi. These peas are light brown in colour, same as chickpea colour. Normal dry peas are green and called ‘matar’, a feminine term. The term 'matara' or 'matra', a masculine.

The word Chaat is used for a group of hot, spicy and tangy, vegetarian snacks from north India. The Hindi word ‘chaatna’ in means 'to lick'. Chaat dishes are so delicious that they make you smack your lips and lick the plate clean. They are traditionally served in plates made from leaves, held together with thin sticks. These days, plates are made from pressed leaves.

In India, chaat is often sold by street hawkers, specially in the evenings. You can see people standing all around a Chaat Wallah's cart, eating and licking their plates. They can be bought from most Indian grocers. Serves 6

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Ingredients

250 gm. dry, white peas or Field Peas (sookhi matar), not dry green peas
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
1 level tsp. cumin seeds, dry roasted and coarsely ground (darara pisa hua)
1 level tsp. coriander or dhania seeds, dry roasted and and finely ground.
1 tsp. chana masala or Chat Masala
1 tsp. amchoor or dry mango powder or 1 inch of dry tamarind from a tamarind block or 1 tsp. tamarind pulp
For serving:
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped or finely shredded
1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
2-3 green chillies finely chopped
1 red onion, peeled and finely shredded
1 lime or lemon, cut into small wedges
Tamarind or Imli Chutney

Instructions

1.Wash and soak peas overnight.
2.Place in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover plus half an inch above. Cook in a pressure cooker under full pressure for 5 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker, boil briskly until soft.
3.Allow the cooker to cool down before opening, check that peas are soft. If not, cook some more.
4.If using dry tamarind, soak in 1/4 cup of water, microwave for a minute, mash and strain to get tamarind water.
5.Add chilli powder, roast cumin powder, chana masala or chat masala, mango powder (amchoor) and a little water if they look too dry. If using tamarind water, add it here. They should have thick gravy, if you are serving them with Kulcha breads and should be quite dry, if you are serving them with tamarind chutney as a snack.
6.Place portions in individual plates, garnish with coriander leaves, ginger, chopped green chillies, ginger and red onions and a wedge of lemon in each plate. Spoon a little Tamarind Chutney over it. If you do not have tamarind chutney, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice. Serve with Kulcha Bread or on their own.
7.You can serve the peas in a large bowl, with all the garnish ingredients on the side, for people to help themselves.

Notes

Also see Chaat selection.

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