Monday, May 22, 2006

Flower Matar cha Rassa (Cauliflower & Green peas cooked in a green gravy)

Clockwise from top right: cauliflower, coriander leaves, red onions, garlic, frozen green peas, green chillis, ginger

Rassa, in Maharashtrian cuisine is basically a dish cooked with a gravy. Having said that, I must mention that there are not many Maharashtrian vegetarian dishes that would come under this heading. Vegetables are prepared most often by steam-cooking or by stir-frying. Very few vegetables are cooked to make Rassa, the most common being potatoes, onions, cauliflower, green peas and tomatoes. (Have I forgotten any?) However, there are quite a few recipes for Rassa with eggs, chicken and mutton in Maharashtrian cuisine, none of which will get to make an appearance on this blog, because I neither eat nor cook meat. I do eat eggs, but that's limited to cakes and muffins.

Moving further with the Rassa, this one is my mother's recipe and a big favourite in the family/amongst relatives. My mother is aware of this, and makes it a point to cook it whenever guests from within as well as outside family are invited over for lunch/dinner. I, too, have managed to impress many a guest at my place with this dish. It has a wonderful, complex flavour of coriander leaves, garlic, green chillis......I think it makes more sense if I just got on with the recipe now. Btw, does anyone of you know where the word 'Matar' for green peas originates from?

Recipe for Flower Matar cha Rassa

Serves 4.


½ head of cauliflower or 3 packed cups cauliflower florets
1 cup green peas, fresh/frozen

For the paste:
1 medium-sized red onion
1-2 green chillis (These will be ground into a paste, so it’s better to go easy on them.)
½ loosely packed cup coriander leaves
2-3 fat cloves of garlic or 4-5 medium ones
¼ inch ginger piece
¼ cup green peas, fresh/frozen
1 tsp oil (not necessary, if cooking the onions in the microwave oven; see Step 3)
salt to taste
a few drops of lemon juice (optional)

1 tsp oil
¼ tsp cumin seeds


1. If using fresh cauliflower, cut it into small florets. Put those into salted water and let them stay in it for about five minutes. This will make the worms, if there are any, sink to the bottom of the container. Take the florets out into a colander then and let them drain. Skip this step, if using frozen cauliflower.
2. Steam the cauliflower (fresh/frozen) and green peas. This can be done in a covered pan using some water on the stove-top or in the microwave oven. We don't want to boil the veggies until very soft. They should retain the crunch in them, because we are going to cook them again later. If using frozen cauliflower, cut it now into smaller, bite-sized florets.
3. For the paste, chop the onions and sauté on some oil until soft. This can be done in the microwave oven and without oil. Roughly 1.5 minutes of cooking on HIGH should suffice. If using frozen green peas for the paste, thaw them by either dipping them for a while in warm water or using the DEFROST mode in your MW oven. (Are you getting a feeling that I am a microwave freak?)
4. Make a smooth paste by grinding the cooked onions, green peas and all other ingredients listed for the paste. Please note that adding salt at this stage is important, because the green chillis tend to turn bitter if ground without salt. The Rassa carries a somewhat unpleasant taste then.
5. Now heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
6. Add the ground paste and fry it only for a few seconds, not longer.
7. Add the cauliflower florets, green peas and about a cup of warm water.
8. Let the curry come to a gentle boil. Simmer it then for 3-4 minutes. Check the taste for salt and adjust the quantity. Please keep it in mind that there is already some salt in the paste.
9. Take it off the heat. Serve hot with rice or chapatis/phulkas and some Raita.

Flower Matar cha Rassa (right) served with Waran-Bhaat

1. The green peas in the paste can be substituted with roasted peanuts. This, too, tastes great. However, the Rassa does not become as green then.
2. Boiled and diced potatoes can be added to the Rassa.
3. Readymade ginger-garlic paste can also be used instead of the fresh ingredients. It should be added at Step 7.

Apparently, cauliflower and green peas are rich in antioxidants. So, let me just send this post over to Sweetnicks for the next ARF/5-a-day event.

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Anonymous said...

Yummy.. My mom makes the same recipe.But instead of using green peas,she adds tomatoes and goda masala to the paste.That gives reddish color to the rassa.

Nabeela said...

Its sure to have an interesting flavor if these many ingredients go in it

Anonymous said...

I think this is one of the very few Maharashtrian dishes which are gravy based.. hence very special. It makes an excellent combination when you have this with bread....
- The original Anon

Vaishali said...

Kamakshi, the Rassa with Goda Masala tastes great as well. I make it often when I don't have the time to cook separate vegetable and dal.

Nabeela, yes, it is a rather complex flavour. Btw, I never knew that you had started a blog.

Anon (What is this 'original' tag?), yes, sliced bread can also be a good accompaniment. Thanks for pointing it out.

Menu Today said...

Hi Vaishali,
Good recipe.I will make it soon.
Thanx for sharing.

KA said...

Great recipe Vaishali!! This joins my must try list..

Neelu said...

HEy,u got a Cute basket :). I need to invest in good utensils n other cutlery... We recently moved to cai n I had ot leave lot of stuff behind in NY...and I havent been able to buy such cute lil things till now :)

Neelu said...

Hey Vaishali...I just saw ur red pumpkin raita, n i was gonna post the same usual aajis cooksbook :). Just wanted to tell you that U can make the same thing with butternet squash that we get here. Its very much similar to the lal bhopla or red pumpkin we get in india, infact Butternut squash can b called as mini red pumpkin :)..I m not sure if u get tht in germany !

Neelu said...

Hey Vaishali...What do u use to grind ? Obvisously mixie, but did u get that fro mindia ? The grinders we get here r aweful because whatever i grind is never a smooth paste...i always land with coarse ground material which i hate...for ex chatnis , n my blender cum mixie is quite expensive too.

Ashwini said...

Aha so thats the basket. Its so cute, I want to pick it up and bring it home :-)
I love the rassas in Maharashtrian cuisine. Cauliflower-batata or cauliflower-vatana. I am interested why you use the word matar? Is that what the dish is called or is this in your family specifically?
Btw I tried your lasnaachi (again why is it lasnaachi and not lasnichi) amti and I loved it. I am a big fan of garlic so this goes on my dinner menu, bad breath be damned!! I hope you dont mind all my q's

Vineela said...

Hi Vaishali,
Cauliflower - peas i do make this.But i have one doubt here as you said we have to grind peas along with onins into paste and again we have to add peas to curry Hope to here answer from you.
I will try your version.
Thank you.

Vaishali said...

MT & KA, let me know once you try it out.

Neelu, I have already mentioned in the Pumpkin Raita post that butternut squash can be included. It's the last line of the first paragraph. As for the mixer, I have bought an 'Amazing Bullet' here. It's an American product, I hear. It should be available where you live, or you could check out 'ebay'. I was not so lucky as to get one from India. The problem with living in Europe is that you are allowed to carry only 30 kg. per person on the flight. It's the double allowed for the US, I guess. :(

Ashwini, I have 4 baskets like this one at home. I got them only for 99 (European) cents each, which is cheap. That adds more charm to it. ;) As for the word 'Matar', it means green peas.(Do you think I should've written 'mutter'?) However, I really don't know whether anybody else outside my family makes it.
Lasnaachi (Lasnichi is equally correct) Aamti is great with its rustic taste. I didn't think when I posted the recipe that you guys would actually go ahead and try it out. And no, I don't mind questions. [Also because I feel like I were very important when I am answering them. ;) ;)]

Vineela, thanks for asking this question. I was hoping that somebody would. The green peas in the paste are for two reasons: a)to lend this curry thickness; otherwise it never comes together and always has the vegetables & the gravy as two separate components, b)to give this curry an appetising green colour. Hope this helps.

Unknown said...

That's interesting- although I regularly make a cauliflower-peas-tomato vegetable in gravy, i never ground the peas for the gravy-shall try it next time-
Nice write up girl!

Catherine said...

What a beautiful photo! I look forward to trying this delicious sounding recipe!

Shammi said...

Vaishali, I'm so going to try this... it's a totally new recipe for me!

Vaishali said...

Nandita, thanks. And try this Rassa, you'll like it.

Thanks, Catherine. And I like that profile photo of yours - with that eye-catching glove.

Thanks for dropping by, Shammi. Do you want to try it out yourself, or do want me to make it for you when you come to Germany? ;-)

archana said...

I loved your vegetable basket, beautifully arranged !!! Thank your the recipe

Vaishali said...

My arrangement is nothing compared to the beauties you create, Archana. I'll be happy when I can decorate my cakes the way you do. Anyway, I feel flattered to get that compliment from you. Thanks.

Manasi said...

Hi Vaishali, Dunno if u will check ur blog comments, but thought I d leave 1 just the same... am trying this out today! Hope it is as tasty as the one u made!

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Smita said...

Thanks to Happy burp! I am going to make this today for my guests...Yeah!

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