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Spicy peas delight!

Semolina Green-Pea Balls.

‘Semolina green-pea balls are a traditional North Indian dish served in my hometown Ranchi region of Chhotanagpur Plateau, Jharkhand in India,’ says Preeti Maheshwari, who came to live in Gisborne in 2019. Preeti shares the recipe her grandmother taught her with the Weekender.

Semolina green-pea balls are usually made with mashed potatoes and breadcrumbs but my grandfather was diabetic, so to avoid starchy potatoes and breadcrumb coating, my grandma made this dish with semolina. I learned to make it from her but after coming to New Zealand I gave it another twist. Instead of using dry mango powder (it's not readily available here), I started using lemon juice to give it a tangy taste. My grandma used to tell me, compared with potatoes, semolina is more filling and healthy. These nutritious, non-messy and tasty peas balls are perfect starters. They're crunchy on the outside and spicy inside. They can also be put in breads, sandwiches or burgers.

Ingredients:

For the outer covering

1 cup semolina

2 cups water

1 tsp ginger-green chilli paste

1 tsp sugar

salt to taste

1 tsp oil for kneading

For the filling

1 cup coarsely crushed green peas

¼ cup finely chopped onions

2 tbsp finely chopped coriander

½ grated ginger

1 tsp finely chopped green chilli (optional)

½ tsp sugar

½ tsp black pepper powder

salt to taste

1 tbsp oil

½ tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp lemon juice

Method:

For the outer covering

• In a deep non-stick pan, boil the water.

• Add the semolina, ginger-green chilli paste, sugar and salt to taste. Remove from the heat and mix it well so that there's no lumps remaining.

• Cover with a lid and keep aside for 2 minutes.

• Transfer this mixture into a plate and keep aside to cool slightly.

• Add the oil and knead the mixture into a soft dough.

For the filling

• In the non-stick pan heat the oil, add cumin seeds. Once it starts spluttering add onions and saute it till it becomes light in colour on low heat.

• Now add peas, green chilli, ginger, sugar, black pepper powder, salt to taste, chopped coriander and lemon juice. Mix them well and remove from the heat.

Process:

• Divide the dough and the filling into 16 equal portions.

• Take a portion of dough and form a depression in the centre. Put in the peas filling and bring together the sides of the dough to the centre to seal the filling. Softly roll it a little to give a nice ball shape. Do it with all the remaining dough and filling portions.

• Heat oil in a deep pan and deep-fry the balls until they turn a nice golden brown.

• Serve the yummy balls with tomato ketchup or coriander chutney.

The unfinished product. Pictures by Preeti Maheshwari
The finished product.
CRUNCHY STARTER: Preeti holding the platter of green-pea balls served with tomato tomato ketchup and coriander chutney.