Sev Usal refers to stew or soup made from dry green peas and topped off with different condiments and it is supposed to be extra spicy. For people who like extra extra spicy there is a red chili condiment served on the side. There will be tears and sweat and still people would add that extra spicy condiment. It is a famous street food back in India and specially you can find it more in my hometown. It is filling and warm specially for fall or cold winter nights. Hope you enjoy it with the happy tears from the chilies and warmth it provides. It is best served or eaten with dinner rolls and yellow fried lentils. —PistachioDoughnut
bowl enough for 4 people
1 cup Green dried peas you can find them at most of stores these days , but always at Indian grocery stores near lentils, pulses.
3 to 4 - black peppercorns
stick of cinnamon
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
6/7 cloves garlic paste or grated (this is not a date night soup or stew)
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 finely chopped green chilies
2 tbsp or little more red chilli powder
2 medium sized onions finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp Tamarind paste
Salt to taste
Garnish - Onion finely chopped,scallions, cilantro, lemon wedges and sev (fried yellow lentil noodles - thereare lots of varieties available thin/thick, spicy/ mild- choose per your preference
Soak the green dried peas for about 6 to 7 hours or preferably overnight. If I am preparing it in the morning, then I would soak it overnight but if I am preparing it for evening which is most of times, then I would soak it in the morning. Once, they have been soaked enough, rinse the water and add new water and add peppercorns and cinnamon stick and just a pinch of salt and pressure cook or boil them for till they look cooked all the way inside out. For pressure cooker users, I go slow for about half an hour with 5 / 6 whistles. Then switch off the range and wait till the pressure is released naturally. Leave it aside.
Now that the peas have boiled and it is time to assemble it. Take oil in a deep pot and add cumin seeds once the oil heats up. Once you hear the sound of cumin crackling add in the garlic paste, ginger paste, green chilies. Add red chilli powder and after few seconds take out some of this oil in a separate bowl. This would be one of our condiments for extra extra spice. You can add a little bit of water into the condiment.
Return to the remaining red chili mix in the pot and add chopped onions. Saute it for sometimes, let them go translucent and add the tomatoes. Cook it till the tomatoes look all broken down.
Time to add the dry spices - garam masala, turmeric powder, tamarind paste and salt to season it. Remember that we had added some salt to boiling peas as well. So taste as you go. Mix everything well and add the boiled peas and some water. The ratio between peas and water should 1:2 . It should be soupy and watery. But after all its personal preference also. You can keep it thick as well.
Let it simmer for about 10 minutes and then serve it hot garnished with chopped onions, cilantro, chopped scallions and yellow fried lentil noodles, lemon wedge , side of dinner rolls and the reserved spicy garlic/chili oil. You can serve the garnishes on the side and people can add in whatever they like. But, once you add the lentil noodles its time to stuff your belly. It becomes soggy if you leave it. So only serve noodles on the side. Let people add it individually to their servings.
If unable to find dried version of green peas, then you can try it fresh peas also. It tastes only better.