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Mar 23

Health Foods A-Z: Peas

Green peas are my favorite vegetable and I can just have them raw. I love their flavor and texture, and sometimes, they are so sweet that it is hard to believe they are a vegetable. I remember how my mother used to bring fresh pea pods and would ask me to help get the peas out. If they were sweet, half of them would vanish before even hitting the bowl ūüėČ Mom used to tell me that having too many would give me a stomach ache and that peas are not good when eaten raw. However, my recent research has suggested that peas are just fine when eaten raw, and are only better if cooked. Guess she just wanted to save some of the peas so she would have something to cook for dinner!

Green peas are among the¬†most nutritious leguminous vegetables. They are rich in minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.¬†A relatively low calorie vegetable, they provide protein and fiber. Peas are also rich in B complex vitamins as well as vitamin C, which helps strengthen the body’s immune system. They also contain phytosterols, and studies suggest that these may help lower cholesterol. Garden peas are also a good source of vitamin A and K. The minerals in peas include calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese.

Most of us believe that frozen foods are inferior in quality to fresh foods, and would prefer the fresh version of the vegetable. This is not the case with peas. When peas are frozen, they have been recently picked, are fresh and have all their nutrients intact. With fresh peas, by the time they are picked and brought to the market, some of the nutrients have already started to dwindle and the peas are not as nutritious. Not only this, frozen peas will have a certain size, however some fresh pea pods only carry miniscule seeds. Of course, the convenience is an added advantage.

There are a million ways to have peas, right from raw to saut√©ed peas, in any entr√©e you like, and even in salads. There are very few preparations that peas don’t go well with, especially if It is part of your main course. The pea pod is also great for cooking, and can be made as a side dish or a snack.

The recipe below is for peas pulao. It makes for a great rice dish for parties and looks wonderful thanks to the peas. Its also better to have than just steamed rice since the peas provide great nutrition. You can choose to make this with white or brown rice, but I prefer white rice only for the taste. This goes well with just about any gravy. My favorite is Dal Makhani.

Ingredients

2 cups white rice

4 cups water

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup Peas (frozen will do, but make sure you thaw them before use)

Salt to taste

1 tbsp. oil

 

Method

Wash the rice thoroughly till the water runs clear. This is very important as we will not get a chance to drain out the starchy water after the rice ahs cooked. It is not only healthy, but also helps keeps the rice clump free.

Heat Oil in a large pan. Add the cumin seeds and let the sizzle. Add the green peas and salt. Mix well. Add the rice and 4 cups water. Let the water come to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Stir once or twice in between. Once the water is evaporated, the rice should be cooked and ready to serve. Mix the peas and cumin seeds well before serving.

This post is part of a series on health foods. I have previously written about Avocado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Dates, Eggs, Fennel, Green chickpeas or chholiya, Honey, Iceberg lettuce, Jackfruit, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Milk, Nectarine and Olives.

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