Split pea soup or mutter pilau is a comfort food for many. Mashed peas are often one of the first vegetables fed to babies.
Mutter, also known as peas, belong to the same family as pulses, which includes beans, dal, lentils and chickpeas. Although there are many kinds of peas such as pigeon peas, yellow peas, black-eyed (cowpeas) and snow peas, mutter usually refers to green peas — both fresh and dried.
Dried peas are produced by harvesting the pea-pods when they are fully mature and then drying them. These versatile peas are a staple found in most South Asian kitchens as they can be stored for several months, and are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition.
A half cup (85 grams) serving of cooked mutter contains important minerals and vitamins such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and B vitamins like thiamine and folate. They are a great source of protein and fibre, with virtually no fat. One half cup will give you 5 grams of protein and 6 grams of fibre, which is why peas will keep you feeling full long after you’ve eaten.
Three Things to do with Mutter
- Mash them: Use a fork or food processor to mash a cup of cooked mutter and flavour with some garlic, olive oil, chilies and mint. This can be served as a dip, side dish or used as a pesto.
- Soak them: Whole dried mutter can be soaked overnight for up to 12 hours in water, but remember to throw out the soaking water and use fresh water to boil them. After soaking they will take one to two hours to cook (less time if using a pressure cooker). Make a large batch, and once cooked, freeze in small batches so you can use them whenever you need. Fresh or split peas do not need soaking.
- Toss them: A handful or two of mutter can be added to most dishes. Toss peas into pasta dishes, salads, curries, casseroles, rice and even mashed potatoes, for a great tasty variation.
Bonus — Roast them: Boil the peas for a few minutes, toss them in some salt, pepper, and a bit of olive oil and then pop them in the oven for 10–15 minutes at 375 F for a crunchy snack that is easy to take on the go!
Use frozen mutter when you don’t have time to cook dried peas. There is no need to rinse frozen peas as they have usually been washed and flash frozen to retain their nutrients. You can add them near the end of your cooking time, as they only take around 5 minutes to cook.