Gajar Matar is a vibrant vegan side dish of carrots and peas. It's both simple and flavorful, making it a great addition to your next homemade Indian meal. Serve it on its own or alongside your favorite curry with basmati rice.
(This recipe was originally published in January 2015, but was updated with new photos and content in 2021).
This is a very simple vegetarian dish that is packed full of flavor. It starts with onion, garlic, and ginger and then adds many different warm spices to create a colorful and slightly spicy side dish.
The name gajar matar literally means "carrot peas." This classic combination of vegetables gets new life from this particular preparation.
Although it could stand on its own as an entrée alongside another veggie forward Indian dish, I like serving it more as a side dish with a heartier meat, chicken, or seafood curry and basmati rice.
- Peas: You may use fresh or frozen peas for this gajar matar recipe. If using frozen peas, thaw them first, and then weigh or measure their volume. They will weigh more and take up more volume (because they're covered in ice crystals) before thawing.
- Cumin: This recipe uses both cumin seeds and ground cumin. If you don't have cumin seeds, you can omit them, but they add nice texture and flavor. Cumin seeds are also great when added to basmati rice prepared for Indian meals, and I also include them in my healthy chana dal recipe.
- Garam Masala: This is actually a spice mixture. You can make it yourself or purchase a bottle of garam masala in the spice aisle of well-stocked supermarkets and online. Because it is a spice mix, different brands will vary in their flavor and color because the exact quantities of each spice in the mixture will fluctuate.
How to make it
Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the bowl of a small food processor and blend until finely chopped and almost paste-like.
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the onion mixture and stir until softened. Add the cumin seeds and turmeric. Then add the carrot and stir for a couple minutes.
Next add the ground cumin and coriander, cook for a couple more minutes, then stir in the peas, salt, sugar, and chili powder. Add water and stir to dissolve all the spices.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the carrot and peas are tender. Stir the garam masala into your gajar matar and serve.
Other recipes you may like
- Pork Vindaloo (Goan-style Pork Curry)
- Murghi aur Masoor Dal (Bombay-style Chicken with Red Split Lentils)
- Chicken Saag (Indian Chicken and Spinach Curry)
- Chicken Korma (Indian Chicken and Nut Curry)
- Murgh Masala (Chicken Masala)
- Chana Dal (Bengal Gram)
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Gajar Matar (Indian Carrots and Peas)
- 1 small onion roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove roughly chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 ¾ cups (325 grams) diced carrots
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 ⅔ cups (250 grams) peas (thawed if frozen)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or less depending on salt type; see notes)
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Indian red chili powder (you can substitute cayenne)
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- Put the onion, garlic and ginger in a small food processor and blend until finely chopped.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the onion mixture and stir over high heat for 2 minutes, or until softened. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cumin seeds and turmeric. After 1 minute, add the carrot and stir for 2 minutes. Add the ground cumin and coriander and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the peas, salt, sugar, and chili powder. Add water.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the carrot and peas are tender. Stir in the garam masala and serve.
- You may use fresh or frozen peas for this recipe. If using frozen peas, thaw them first, and then weigh or measure their volume. They will weigh more and take up more volume (because they're covered in ice crystals) before thawing.
- This recipe uses both cumin seeds and ground cumin. If you don't have cumin seeds, you can omit them, but they add nice texture and flavor. Cumin seeds are also great when added to basmati rice prepared for Indian meals, and I also include them in my healthy chana dal recipe.
- This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind. My preferred brand is Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which is what many restaurants use as well.
- Adapted from The Food of India
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*