Matar Usal (Maharashtrian pea curry) Recipe

Matar Usal (Maharashtrian pea curry) Recipe

This curry is a delicious reward for a small amount of effort. Though you can make it very quickly, the depth of flavors never fail to amaze me.

Serves: 2-3

Prep time: 10 minutes


  • 16 oz. frozen (or fresh shelled) peas (left out to thaw)
  • turmeric
  • black mustard seeds
  • kari patta (curry leaves)
  • 1/2 ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 green finger chilis
  • salt
  • sugar
  • 1/2 lime
  • fresh shredded coconut (not the dried kind you use for baking or putting on ice cream, you can find it frozen in indian stores)
  • coriander/cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Heat canola oil over medium heat for two minutes.
  2. Finely chop the ginger, garlic, and chilies.
  3. Add a 1/2 teaspoon each of mustard and turmeric and 3-4 curry leaves to the oil.
  4. Fry the spices until the mustard seeds start to pop, then add the chopped ginger, garlic, and chilies.
  5. Mix while the ingredients fry.
  6. When the mixture is very aromatic, but the garlic has not yet started to get too dark and brown, add the peas.
  7. Continue cooking for three or four minutes until the peas are ready. They should be bright green and not at all dry or beginning to pucker.
  8. Turn off the heat and add a 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and sugar, the juice from the lime, and 3 tablespoons fresh grated coconut.
  9. Mix and garnish with the cilantro leaves (if desired).
  10. Serve hot and enjoy!

Looking for other great bhajis (Marathi vegetable curries)? When cooking for a big group, I serve often serve this with Ghevda (green beans), Palakchi bhaji (spinach), or Flower chi bhaji (cauliflower) and Toor dal (yellow lentils) for protein.


  1. Ninad

    29 January

    Thanks for the recipe. You mentioned the curry leaves in the ingredients, but forgot to put it in. I guess they go with the oil at the beginning?. Also I put extra virgin olive that ok ?

  2. 30minutedinnerparty

    31 January

    Hi Ninad,

    Thank you so much for mentioning that! I added it back in. I often don’t have them on hand and end up just skipping them.

    Also, I had to use olive oil for all of my curries a few weeks ago when I completely ran out of canola oil. I think the taste is more or less the same, but there are definitely some difference. I found that you want to use almost a third as much oil at the beginning. For some reason the olive oil really doesn’t soak into the ingredients as well as the higher heat (vegetable and canola, for example). The end result also seems greasier to me when I use olive oil. I believe it is because the oil doesn’t burn off the same way.

    So, the moral of the story is that yes, you can use olive oil, but use much less, and expect that still the final product will feel a bit more oily.