14 Jan methi malai matar( fenugreek leaves and grean peas in cream)
Aahhh…. to clean those methi (fenugreek) leaves stocked in my fridge,what a pain and waste of my productive time and energy ; is what I told myself as I hung up on an important telecon ..A laborious task it is to clean methi leaves, let alone make a recipe with cooking hazards /ordeals of the dish turning bitter…To retain its taste without the bitterness requires patience, perseverance and the art of camouflazing the bitterness, while keeping the aroma and flavor intact..
Really, cooking methi is an art in its secretive form..Even the best of the chefs at time cant dress up methi in its original form retaining its flavor ,vitamins and aroma..In the name of methi,all you get is a few strands flowing in the thick creamy gravy(with high calories)..
Also, methi on its own has great medicinal value which is why I try at times to include it in my diet..And honestly, methi falls within that category of veggies, which are best consumed at home with its vitamins intact.Otherwise you hardly get the actual taste and the vitamins of methi in dishes served at restaurants..For people with low hemeoglobin its absolutely medicinal.Very often doctors put anemic(with low hemeoglobin) people on a fenugreek diet..So there you go, its extremely important for your health .And that’s one dish which you dont get in pure form in restaurants..Most often, you are served the dried version(kasuri methi) which in reality is not so much used for manistay cooking but used more for flavor and aroma in a dish. The fresh leaves which are higly medicinal are generally avoided due to the challenging task of depleting its bitterness is what my belief is.
And today,I have to finish my methi leaves before they die and go waste, after all i bought them coz of its medicinal value not that i like them to a great extent and before mom gives me an earful on the values of money ,food and how i waste money. I generally am the kinda person who would see whats in stock inside my fridge and make a recipe rather then deciding on a recipe and hunting for the ingredients..
I had chicken and peas…So there, two dishes conceived already in my mind…Methi chicken and methi malai matar ,and the leaves were enough to suffice for two dishes..so i made two dishes back to back for lunch and dinner..Here am putting down a quick recipe of methi malai matar( fenugreek leaves and green peas in cream), the methi chicken(which is an awesome dish as well) will follow siut in my next post perhaps.
Its funny ,how almost every indian receipe can be made at least in 2-3 differnt ways..Numerous books have been written about the same receipes albeit differently..So it really is creativity and i say one needs that creative streak in his/her genes to think and work out a simple recipe differently to arrive at an unique and unknown but delectable taste..For me, while this recipe has many connotations and you would see many versions, it had to be a visual treat matching your imaginary expression and belief as you connote from the name of the recipe..I have kept it low fat by using yogurt and milk instead of malai(cream) which makes this dish a winner in itself.
Methi, malai and matar, so it needs these ingredients dressed up and show as a facade to its secondary ingredients..No secondary element can overpower these ingredients to take a different feel, aroma, flavor or texture.Like most of the recipes I see are yellow in color coz of the haldi(turmeric), which ideally is a secondary element here..So i chucked the haldi and kept this simple, true to its name and tried my best to divert the bitterness by addition of some tomatoes ,onions and coriander leaves.And of course, I tried to keep the malai out of these mailai based recipe by replacing it with a concoction of milk, yogurt and cashews. Much lighter then the cream based gravy, this one healthier as well.
Fresh Methi leaves, blanched for about 5-6 mins -1 cup
tomatoes/tomato puree- 1 tomato or 1/2 cup puree
Onions-1 large chopped
cashews 2 tbsp
ginger-1 inch chopped
cumin powder-1 tsp
coriander powder-1 tsp
red chilli powder(optional)
Milk 1/2 cup or more depending on the amount of desired gravy
Yogurt 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Red chilly powder 1/2 tsp
kasuri methi-optional, just for the flavor
Take a pan, drop oil and add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, star anise .Add grated ginger and garlic.The taste of ginger needs to be strong hence you can add more amount of ginger if u wish. Now add the onion and fry till its transparent and put in the tomatoes..You need to put very less tomatoes, only for breaking the bitter taste of the methi..If u add more, then the color of the dish will change and take the form of a tomato gravy which we do not want..The color of this dish has to be a creamy white gravy with green peas and methi floating on top..Thats excatly what we aim for hence use the tomatoes sparingly.And more onions brings a sweetness. Add the cumin and coriander powder at this stage and add the blanched methi leaves and coriander leaves.Fry for a bit, add salt ,and add garam masala if you wish..Fry on low heat for sometime until the methi is fried and looses its bitterness.Add the full cream..If you want to make it lighter you could add milk as well ..Dnt keep frying the cream for long as the gravy will dissipate .Add cashewnute paste if you wish to make it rich.And its done..Your methi malai matar is ready to be displayed.The color that you get has to match your visual imagination of a creamy white gravy,coupled with green methi leaves and peas..
Its absolutely creamy, with a certain sweetness to it which kills the bitter taste and a little heavy of course..A delicious flavourful simple dish with outstanding texture and flavour..The taste of the cream is so overpowering that even the bitter methi looks irristable..So for all you methi haters or the ones who have almost written off methi from their list of favourite receipes, should definetely try out this receipe once.Am sure it will not fail to live up to the comfort of your taste buds..