Monday, June 16, 2008

Ragada (Dried Pea Stew With Fragrant Spices)

Ragada is a Western Indian dried pea stew popularized by street vendors who serve it over potato patties as a snack, especially in the Mumbai (formerly Bombay) area. As people start to return home from schools and offices, vendors get ready to sell their fragrant fare. The delicious aromas emanating form the goodies entice customers to eagerly line up at their favorite snack stands for their turn to savor the delicacies.

Ragada is also wonderful served with any rice dish, chapatis or other Indian breads, and other accompaniments. I like to sprout the peas just a little to boost their nutritive value; but sprouting will take time so one has to plan ahead.

8 Servings


2 Cups Dried Whole Peas, soaked or sprouted
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp Salt or to taste

Grind the following 4 ingredients together: Wet Masala
2 Green Chilies (Jalapeño or Serrano)
2 to 4 thin slices Fresh Ginger
2 Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Tamarind concentrate

Dry Roast the following spices until fragrant and grind into powder: Dry Masala
1/2 tsp whole Peppercorns
2 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 2" piece Cinnamon Stick
6 whole Cloves
1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 Dry Red Chili (or more if desired)

2 Tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 small Cinnamon Stick (1" piece)
6 whole Cloves
2 Dry Red Chili
1 pinch Asafoetida
1 sprig Curry Leaves

Fresh Cilantro, for garnish


Sort the dried peas and soak overnight. Sprout them if you wish. Cook the peas in fresh water to cover (about 4 cups) until very soft but not mushy. Add the salt and turmeric and set aside.

While peas are cooking, make the wet and dry masalas (spice mixes). For the Wet Masala, cut the chilies in half and remove seeds; grind all together coarsely in a blender container. For the Dry Masala, roast all the spices in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 7 to 10 minutes or roast them in a skillet without any oil; cool and grind.

Heat the oil in a large pot and add the mustard seeds, cumin, cinnamon stick, cloves, and whole red chilies. When mustard and cumin seeds pop, sprinkle the asafoetida. Reduce heat and stir in wet masala carefully to avoid splashing along with the curry leaves. Mix in the cooked peas, more water if a thinner consistency is desired, and simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle the dry masala and stir well to combine. Let sit to meld the flavors for at least 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve hot with rice/breads, raita, salad, plain yogurt and Indian pickles.

Or serve Mumbai style over vegetable/potato patties called Ragada-Patties.

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