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Posted at: Feb 11, 2018, 12:54 AM; last updated: Feb 11, 2018, 12:54 AM (IST)FOOD TALK

From streets of Benaras

From streets of Benaras

Pushpesh Pant

Don’t be confused. Mattra has nothing to do with the tender sweet green peas that are stir fried with minimal spicing on a bed of pounded rice flakes and enjoyed in winters in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. This is a dried, yellow lentil-like version that replaces chhole when these play a Hindi heartland duet with kulchas. One rarely encounters this pair on the streets of Delhi nowadays, but it continues to rule the hearts of loyal fans in Benaras and Allahabad. We have been treated to a bowl of mattra by our cousin Nivedita; she changes the spicing and garnishing every time she serves it. However, recently, young chef Nishant Choube dazzled the guests at a lunch with a recipe that is simple yet stunningly beautiful. Mattra with activated charcoal kulcha. Believe us, the mattra will remain as tasty and nutritious even after you do away with the charcoal bit. A truly healthy snack.



Mattra 1 cup (soaked overnight)

Onion 1 (finely chopped) 

Tomato 1 (diced) 

Ginger 1-inch piece (chopped)

Green chillies 1 to 4 (optional, chopped fine, deseeded) 

Cumin powder 1tsp (freshly roasted)

Black pepper powder ½ tsp 

Black rock salt ¼ tsp 

Anardana powder 1 tsp 

Sugar To taste

Salt To taste 

Mint/coriander leaves 1 sprig

Curd 1 to 2 tbsp (whisked)

Ghee/butter 2 to 3 tsp


Pressure cook the mattra till done to taste. Ideally, these should retain a bite. Heat ghee in a pan and put in the tomatoes and onions along with the powdered spices. Stir fry for 30 seconds on high flame and add the mattra. Reduce flame and add salt and sugar. Whisk the curd and pour evenly all over. Mix well. Remove from the flame, garnish and place a generous helping on a kulcha or a bun and serve either hot or at room temperature.


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