I'd torn this recipe from a magazine many years ago. The author claimed that "pyaali" made a perfect pair for the brun bread. She also said that this is the quintessential Bombay street food. Which is where I hit a snag. In the last many years in the city, I've never heard of pyaali - as a street food or otherwise. But as I read on, I became intrigued with this curry of dried white peas and the rainbow of accompainments it comes with. For this is how my torn magazine fragment describes the dish. You fill your bowl with the curry, then top with your pick from an assortment of toppings.
To make the curry, soak 1/2 cup dried white peas (called matar or vatana in Mumbai) overnight. Boil with 1/2 tsp each of salt and turmeric powder in plenty of water until soft. Around 10 minutes in the pressure cooker did it for me. Also boil two small potatoes and chop them in small pieces. Add one of the chopped potatoes to the peas and boil until they are blended with the peas and slightly mushy.
1. Spiced Potatoes : Chop 3 cloves of garlic finely. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and saute garlic until it starts to brown. Add a tsp of chilli flakes, a hearty pinch of salt and the second chopped potato. Add some water and let cook until the gravy coats the potatoes.
2. A handful of tamarind soaked in water, then sieved to extract the juice.
3. Kokam pieces (5-6) soaked in water and ground to a thick paste
4. Coriander and mint leaves, chopped finely
5. A tsp each of coriander and cumin seeds, dry roasted and coarsely ground
6. Finely chopped onion
A fabulous blend of flavors, and made for a very filling dinner last night. I didn't even get around to eating any bread, this was so delicious by itself.