Curried Pea Sandwiches with Coconut-Cilantro Chutney

Dear Mr. Bittman,

Smashed peas spread between two layers of bread does not make an easy sandwich to eat.

Love, Elizabeth

This week’s Food Matters Project recipe is for Tea Sandwiches. One of the variations Bittman gives is for gingered peas. Since I’m still on my Indian food kick, I decided to curry them instead of ginger them, and whipped up a little chutney for good measure. These really made a great lunch for me – and the components can be made ahead so you’ve got lunch all week – but they come with a warning label: Eating this sandwich may cause smashed peas to land on table, lap or floor. Consume with caution.

I used a large flake dried unsweetened coconut for the chutney, but if you can only find the small flakes, decrease the amount to 1/2 cup. Sweetened coconut, unfortunately, won’t really work here.  And for the bread, what you see here is a toasted, sprouted grain bread. When grains are sprouted they digest like a vegetable, which makes it easier in the tummy, and not so starchy in the mouth. I keep mine in the freezer since I don’t eat a lot of bread, and just toast it when I need it. If you like your sandwich bread soft and squishy, you can use untoasted whole grain bread instead. This recipe makes more chutney than you will use for these sandwiches, but luckily you can stir the rest into a bowl of rice, top a fried egg, thin it out and use as a dressing, or garnish some soup.

Curried Pea Sandwiches with Coconut-Cilantro Chutney

Curried Peas:
1 lb. shell peas (~ 1 c. after shelling)
1 T. virgin coconut oil
2 tsp. curry powder
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Coconut-Cilantro Chutney:
3/4 c. large flake dried coconut (or 1/2 c. small flake)
3/4 c. tightly packed fresh cilantro
1/4 c. raw cashews
1 green chili, de-stemmed, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 in. knob of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp. sweetener of choice (honey, agave, sucanant, brown sugar, etc.)
juice of 1 lime
3/4 tsp. sea salt

8 slices of thin, whole grain sandwich bread (I used sprouted grain)

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the curry, a few pinches of salt and stir for 30 seconds. Add the peas, and stir to coat them in the curry oil. After a minute or two add the garlic, and cook for another few minutes until the peas are bright green. Watch that the garlic doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and smash with a potato masher or a fork. You can leave a few whole. Set aside.

Meanwhile, add all the chutney ingredients to a food processor, along with 1/4 c. water, and process. If it’s dry, add a bit more water, up to a 1/4 cup more, until the consistency is to your liking. If you want your bread toasted, now is the time.

To assemble, spread a thin layer of chutney on one side of each of the bread slices. Spoon the peas over half of the slices. Top with the rest of the slices of bread. Cut into triangles and serve.

serves 4.

Quinoa Poppy Seed Pasta with Peas

Happy Memorial Day! Instead of grilling at the park like many Brooklynites, I made pasta today. This is not one of those things you want to start when you’re already hungry. Especially the first few times you make pasta by hand, you want to give yourself a couple hours, and maybe invite a few friends to help, to laugh when someone makes a mess, and to enjoy dinner with. I don’t mean for this to sound super scary – it’s really an easy process once you get the hang of it. And you don’t need an special pasta rolling equipment either. A rolling pin (or a wine bottle), some parchment paper and a pizza cutter (or knife) do just fine.

Please don’t be discouraged. I have only made pasta a few times myself, and each time I learn a lot, so now I’m pretty good at it. And the taste of homemade pasta is really incomparable, not to mention the satisfaction of using your hands to create something amazing. However, if you’re just not ready to gild that lily yet, pick up some high quality fresh pasta and you’ve got yourself a super quick 1-pot meal.

So, away we go! To start, mix your flours, salt and poppy seeds together on a large clean surface. Make a well in the middle that’s big enough for a few eggs and some oil and water. Don’t make the mistake of making the well too small like I did – or the egg will fall out and gush liquid everywhere. This is why I don’t have a good picture of this step…sorry about that. Moving on, use a fork, then your hands, to work the egg, water and oil into the flour until you have a shaggy mass of dough. It will be dry and stiff.

Knead the dough about 10 minutes until you get a smooth ball. It will still be dry and fairly stiff.

Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest. I gave mine 30 minutes, because during that time I was shelling the peas.

Once the dough has rested, lay a sheet of parchment over your work space. Move the dough to the parchment and push down with your hands to flatten into a disc.

Take another sheet of parchment and lay it over the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as you can get it. Then peel off the top sheet of parchment paper.

Fold the dough horizontally over itself a few times. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, slice the pasta into thin noodles. I found that it was easiest to cut a few strips, then unfold them, then cut a few more. When unfolding, you can lightly pinch the folds to de-crease them and help the noodles hold together. I like my noodles thin, but the thinner I cut, the harder they are to unroll and keep in one piece. Keep that in mind when deciding what size to cut your pasta.

Now you have homemade pasta! Cook it in boiling water for 5 minutes max, until the pasta is no longer doughy. Add the peas when you have about 3 minutes left (even less if you are using frozen peas).

You can use this process to make any kind of pasta. Change up the flour (just be sure that part of the flour has gluten), knead in other seeds, herbs, spices, etc. Create different shapes. Experiment – then comment and tell us all about it.

Quinoa Poppy Seed Pasta with Peas

3/4 c. quinoa flour
3/4 c. semolina flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 T. poppy seeds
2 eggs
2 T. olive oil
2 T. water

1 lb. shell peas (or 1 cup if they are already shelled)
2 T. butter
2 T. fresh, chopped herbs (I used thyme, but mint would be great)
a few pinches of salt
to serve: freshly grated parmesan and lemon wedges

Mix the flours, salt and poppy seeds together on a clean work surface. Make a well in the middle and break the eggs into it. Add the oil and water to the well and work it into a shaggy mass of dough.

Knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, dry and stiff. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes, during which time you can shell your peas if needed.

Lay the ball of dough on a sheet of parchment paper and push down on it to flatten. Lay another sheet of parchment on top, and roll as thin as you can. Peel off the top sheet of paper.

Fold the dough onto itself a few times and, using a knife or pizza cutter, cut into thin strips. Unfold the strips into noodles.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water, then add the pasta. After about 2 minutes, add the peas. Boil for 3 more minutes then drain. Transfer the pasta back into the pot, add the butter and herbs. Toss to combine and melt the butter.

Serve topped with grated cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice.

serves 4