I have a lot of childhood favorite delicacies that are so comforting and have so many memories attached to them. One of them that happens to be my Papa’s favorite too and a must at my house in winter months is Nimona. I am sure the name is a bit unusual as this is not on a typical restaurant menu and is not well known even in India. Nimona is a winter delicacy in UP and Bihar. I am from Banaras and grew up in Bihar so I know for sure this dish has some connection with these two states! The preparation may vary slightly from place to place, which is so typical of our diverse culture and I absolutely love that!
Nimona is traditionally made with fresh green peas or green chana (gram) which are mainly available during winter season. You can use frozen peas too but that will be compromising with the original taste and flavors! You can use dried green peas (sookha matar) instead. I love black chana nimona and it is perfect for this weather with a bowl of steamed white rice!! This dish is packed with protein and other nutrients.
Recipe Servings: 4-6 Time: 1 hour
- 4 cups soaked black chana or Bengal gram
- 2 potatoes, cubed
- 2-3 Masala wadis (dried lentil dumplings)
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- I tsp. grated ginger
- 2 tsp. grated garlic
- 2 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 tsp. jeera powder
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. red chili powder
- 4 green chilies, slit
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 black cardamoms
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 3 Tbsp. Mustard oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 2-3 cups water for desired consistency
- Salt to taste
- Coarsely grind soaked chana and keep aside.
- Heat mustard oil in a pan and shallow fry the masala wadis. Keep aside.
- Add cumin seeds and bay leaves in the oil. Let it splutter.
- Add onions, cardamoms, cinnamon stick and green chilies. Sauté until light brown.
- Add potatoes, ginger and garlic and fry for couple minutes.
- Add ground chana and fry for 5-7 minutes.
- Add rest of the spices (coriander powder, cumin powder, chili powder, salt, turmeric) and tomatoes and again fry for about 5 minutes.
- Add garam masala, wadis and water to make a thick stew like consistency.
- Cook covered on medium-low heat until potatoes are done.
10. For tadka, heat ghee in a small pan, add some cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add tadka in the prepared nimona.
11. Serve with rice or roti.