Matar Kulcha is one of the most famous street food from Delhi. A classic vegetarian dish made of dried white peas (matar), spices, and served with a white flatbread called kulcha. This delicious combination of chole kulcha is must-try street food.
What is white pea (matar)?
The dried white peas are known as ‘safed matar‘ or ‘vatana‘. They are often used to make popular Mumbai street food ragda pattice or the Aloo Tikki Chaat.
The white peas (matar) look very similar to chickpeas (chana) but are smaller in size and perfectly round. White peas are nothing but the dried version of the fresh green peas.
In earlier days, dried white peas were used when fresh green peas are scarce or not available. Nowadays, white peas are easily available in Indian grocery stores and supermarkets in the ‘lentils & pulses’ section.
What is Matar Kulcha?
Matar Kulcha is a highly popular vegetarian dish from the by-lanes of Delhi and widely popular among the neighboring states.
The dried white peas are cooked with a few basic spices and served with a generous topping of chopped onion, tomato, ginger, and green chili. And the matar is always served with the bakery made light and fluffy Indian bread called kulcha.
Matar with kulcha has a mélange of essences in every bite. It is sweet, spicy, tangy, and a real outburst of the best Indian street food flavors.
The best part of matar kulcha is that it is one dish that can be healthy and tasty too. While the kulcha provides a decent amount of carbs, the white pea is a great source of vegetarian protein. Also, we are not using any fat/oil in this matar kulcha recipe.
Hence, making it a delicious yet wholesome street food recipe.
Step-By-Step Matar Kulcha Cooking Method
Soaking: Start by cleaning, rinsing, and soaking white peas in water for 4 – 5 hours or best overnight. I do not recommend cooking white peas without soaking.
Pressure Cook the peas with salt and water till soft but not mushy. It usually takes 2 – 3 whistles over a low flame.
Making Masala: In a heavy bottom pan (kadhai) add the dry spices – garam masala, chaat masala, asafoetida, and black pepper powder. Dry roast for 1 – 2 seconds or till the aroma of spices is released.
Now add the boiled matar without any liquid. Stir to combine nicely. Taste and add the salt accordingly.
Next, add tamarind pulp, sliced green chili, ginger, and a ladle full of the reserved liquid from boiled peas. Mix nicely and allow matar to simmer over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes to absorb the flavor of spices.
Garnish with chopped onion, tomato, and coriander leaves.
Matar tastes best when eaten hot, with a nicely buttered kulcha. You can eat this white pea curry with paratha, or chapati.
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Matar Kulcha Recipe
- Heavy Bottom Kadhai
For Pressure Cooking:
- 2 Cup safed matar (dried white peas)
- Salt to taste
- 6 Cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala ( see recipe here)
- 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
- a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
- Salt to taste
- 1 – 2 green chilli, sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger peeled and cut into thin strips
Ingredients for garnish:
- 1/2 Cup chopped onion
- 1/2 Cup chopped tomato
- 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
How to pressure cook safed matar (dried peas):
- Clean, wash and soak matar overnight in water or for 4 – 5 hours.
- Next day drain water, transfer matar in a pressure cooker with approximately 6 Cups of water and salt.
- Pressure cook the peas till soft but not mushy. It usually takes 2 – 3 whistles over a low flame. Allow the steam to release naturally from the pressure cooker. Open the lid, check for doneness and set aside.
How to make Delhi style matar:
- In a heavy bottom pan (kadhai) add the dry spices – garam masala, chaat masala, asafoetida, and black pepper powder. Dry roast for 1 – 2 seconds or till the aroma of spices is released.
- Now add the boiled matar without any liquid. Stir to combine nicely. Taste and add the salt accordingly.
- Next, add tamarind pulp, sliced green chilli, ginger and a ladle full of reserved liquid from boiled peas. Mix nicely and allow matar to simmer over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes to absorb the flavor of spices.
- If the matar seems too dry add more reserved liquid from the boiled peas.
- Transfer prepared matar to a serving bowl. Garnish with chopped onion, tomato, and coriander leaves.
- Serve Delhi Style Matar with kulcha and coriander chutney.
- I do not recommend cooking white peas without soaking for a few hours.
- The leftover liquid in the pressure cooker after boiling peas is used to get the desired consistency of the matar curry. So it is best to reserve it till the matar are fully done.
- The pressure cooking time may vary depending upon the variety of the white peas. But we need fully cooked, soft matar for making chole kulcha.