In England, we usually treat mustard as a condiment—highly dangerous and to be eaten in small quantities. But in Bengal they make wonderful dishes using mustard in large amounts, as the lead flavor. In this recipe, the mustard and yogurt come together to make a pungent and rich sauce which doesn’t overpower but instead complements the sweet, clean flavors of the peas and asparagus.
Although Bengalis tend to grind their own mustard seeds, I’ve used ready-made English mustard in this recipe, which is simpler and works a treat. Eat with either buttered naan, or buttery moong dal, and rice.
NOTE: You will need a blender for this recipe.
Serves 4 as part of a main course
2 tablespoons Colman’s mustard
1 Indian green chile
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
¾-inch piece of ginger, peeled
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons desiccated or fresh grated coconut
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 red onion, diced
1 pound asparagus, cut into ¾-inch pieces
1¾ cups peas (fresh or defrosted)
½ teaspoon salt
First make the mustard paste. Put the mustard, green chile, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, yogurt, and coconut into a blender and pulse to a fine paste.
Next, put the oil into a large frying pan and, when hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the seeds start to wriggle in the oil, add the red onion and cook for around 8 minutes, until soft and translucent. Then turn the heat down and add the mustard paste.
Stir the mustard paste for a couple of minutes so that it doesn’t split, then turn the heat up to medium and add all the asparagus, except for the tips. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the peas and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the asparagus tips, cook for a final 30 seconds to a minute, then take off the heat. Season with the salt and serve.