Sugar Snap Peas Stir Fry with Indian Spices

I am a hardcore foodie and love trying out different cuisines, often recreating them; tweaking them to my perfection. But what gives me utmost joy and satisfaction are the simple, home cooked meals I grew up eating. No fancy ingredients. no complicated procedure. Just simple wholesome goodness.

One of my go-to Indian blogs for simple, homey recipes is Kitchen e Kichu Khonn by Sharmila. Her recipes are quick to make, pretty simple and absolutely down to earth just like the person that she is.

I have been eyeing her Matar ke chilke ki subzi / Stir fried green peas shells for quite sometimes now. I was pretty intrigued with the choice of the main ingredient. Fresh green peas are available only in the winter months in India. The pods are snapped open, the pearly peas are reserved and the shells usually thrown away. Sharmila took those shells and turned them into a delightful side dish that goes well with roti and rice alike. Perfect example of "waste not; want not" philosophy. Back home, my mother and grandmother are true believers of this philosophy too. Nothing edible was ever wasted. My grandmother even made a delicious fritter using vegetable peels and scarps and rice flour. But that would be another story. Another post.

Unfortunately, the only peas we get over here are the frozen variety. No fresh peas in pods for us. So I settled for the next best thing. Sugar snap peas.

I was pretty amused to find out that Sugar Snap Peas is actually a hybrid of green peas and snow peas. It is a relatively new food, which was developed in 1979 to meet consumers' demand for edible-pod peas, that were sweeter and larger than snow peas. Because the pods of green peas are difficult to chew, sugar snap pea pods were bred with their fibers going in one direction, making them easier to chew. Nutrition wise, sugar snap peas scores a tad more that the regular green peas. They are lower in calorie and richer in fiber and vitamins when compared to regular green peas.

Coming back to the recipe, basic everyday spices brings this stir fry to life. I added a little Aamchur (Dry Mango Powder) for a little tang to the final product. The step is optional but it does bring an interesting twist of flavor.

Soft pillow(y) Roti or chapatis are a perfect accompaniment for this spicy and tangy side dish. It is also great when served with a simple dal and rice too. The same stir fry can be made using snow peas or green bean or asparagus. Since it travels well, it is a frequent item in Sam's lunchbox.

Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Recipe Snapshot: Sugar Snap Peas Stir Fry with Indian Spices
Adapted from: Matar ke chilke ki subzi / Stir fried green peas shells by Kitchen e Kichu Khonn

Serves: 3 serving
(1 serving = 1 cup)

What I used:
Sugar Snap Peas - 1 lb (about 400 gms),

Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp

Asafoetida/ Hing - 1/2 tsp

Coriander Powder - 1 tsp

Red Chili Powder (or Paprika for a mild version) - 1/2 tsp

Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp

Aamchur or Dry Mango Powder - 1/2 tsp

Oil - 2 tsp

Salt to taste

What I did:
1. The sugar snap pea pods have string that needs to be removed before eating them. To prepare, trim the stem end and remove the stringy fiber on either side of the pods and then wash the pods thoroughly in water and drain it over a colander or pat dry. Chop the pods into two.

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pan or wok.

2. Add the Cumin Seeds and the Asafoetida. Let then sizzle for a couple of seconds.

3. Add the cleaned and chopped sugar snap peas and toss them around for a while. A minute or so will do.

4. Add the Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder (or Paprika), Coriander Powder and salt. Mix it well with the snap pees. Cover and cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring it intermittently. Add a tiny splash of water, if you feel that its sticking at the bottom of the pan.

5. Once the snap peas are soft, add the Aamchur or the Dry Mango Powder (if using). Give it a good mix. Increase the heat and keep stirring continuously till all the moisture is dried up and the masala just coat the snap peas.

6. Take it off the flame and serve hot with soft Roti (or Tortillas). It can be eaten as a side with rice and dal too.

Notes/Tip: The Aamchur or the Dry Mango Powder adds a delicious tang and a aroma to this dish. It is easily available at any Indian grocery store.

Diabetic Platter:
Sugar snap peas feature comparatively less calories than that of green-shelling peas. 100 g pods provide just 42 calories against 81 calories of green peas. The snap pods also holds more vitamins, minerals and other plant nutrients than the traditional shelling peas.

Since sugar peas consumed as a whole, they provide relatively high content of dietary fiber. Fiber diet helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, obesity, and constipation.

Fresh pods carry 150% more amounts of vitamin C than in garden peas. 100 g provide 60 mg or 100% of daily-required levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful natural water-soluble anti-oxidant. Vegetables rich in this vitamin help the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.

Fresh sugar pea pods are an excellent source of folic acid. 100 g provides 42 µg or 10.5% of recommended daily levels of folates. Folates are one of the B-complex groups of vitamins, required in cellular DNA synthesis.

Like in shelling peas, sugar snap pods are also rich in phytosterols, especially ß-sitosterol. Studies suggest that vegetables like legumes, fruits, and cereals rich in plant sterols help lower cholesterol levels in the body.

Sugar pea pods have more vitamin K than that in shelled peas. 100 g of fresh leaves contain about 25 µg of daily requirement of vitamin K-1 (phylloquinone). Vitamin K has found to have a potential role in bone mass building function by promoting osteo-trophic activity in the bone. It also has established role in Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
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  1. I was sure you had made it but did not like it, given that non Bengali temperings. :-)
    So glad to see these snaps ... they look gorgeous! Especially the one of the discarded strings. Will add some amchur powder the next time.

    1. Sharmila... I was born in Bhubaneshwar and spend a major chunk of my childhood in Bihar. Sam's family is settled in Benaras for decades now. We have a very strong "non-Bengali" influence in our lives. Its only after coming to the US and not getting home cooked Bengali food... that I have finally learnt to appreciate the simple Bengali flavors. Before that I used to pretty vocal about my dislike for anything Bengali. But I must add, I was a Maach and Misti addict, like a true Bong, forever.

      The 'Hing-jeera ki chauk" and the finishing touch of aamchur is very very close to my heart!

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