Methi Matar Malai (Fresh Fenugreek Leaves and Peas in a Creamy Gravy) – The Spicy Version

Methi Matar Malai
Methi Matar Malai

Methi Matar Malai is one those dishes that you will find on the menu of every “Mughlai” or “Punjabi” restaurant. In days of yore, there were two restaurants famous for Punjabi food in South-Central Mumbai; Pritam Da Dhaba in Dadar and Yogi in Chembur. My first memory of eating Methi Matar Malai was at Yogi.

I was fascinated by the rich creamy sweet ‘n’ spicy gravy that was served. I have tried in many places ever since and I have found that the taste varies from sweet to spicy. This is the spicy version simple because my family is not too fond of sweet gravies.

What I like about this dish is that it combines two ingredients that I would not normally consider putting together; bitter fenugreek and peas. Then there is the creamy gravy.

Traditional, Methi Matar Malai uses fresh cream in the gravy. I made the low calorie version that uses no cream and only milk to get the rich creamy taste.

Serves: 4

Time:  45 Mins

Ingredients

  1. Fresh Fenugreek Leaves – 2 Packed Cups
  2. Peas – 1 Cup
  3. Milk – 1.5 Cups
  4. Cashews – 10-12
  5. Ginger – 1/2″ piece
  6. Garlic Cloves – 3
  7. Green Chillies – 3
  8. Cinnamon – 1/2″ piece
  9. Cloves – 2
  10. Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  11. Pepper Corns – 4
  12. Green Cardamom – 1
  13. Oil – 1 tbsp
  14. Fresh Cream – 2 tbsp (optional)
  15. Salt to Taste

 

Method

  1. Over medium heat, in a kadhai or wok, dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, pepper, cumin, and cardamom seeds for a couple of minutes.
  2. Let the spices cool and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Set aside.
  4. In the same grinder (if possible), grind the cashews, ginger, garlic, and green chillies to a smooth, thick paste using about 2 tbsp of water.
  5. Set aside.
  6. In the work used for roasting the spices, heat the oil.
  7. Add the fenugreek leaves and stir-fry till the leaves wilt.
  8. Add the green peas and about 1/4 cup of water.
  9. Cook covered till the peas soften.
  10. Now add the cashew paste and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.
  11. Add the dry roasted spice powder and salt.
  12. Stir-fry for a minute.
  13. Add the milk and mix well.
  14. Bring to a gentle simmer and turn off the heat.
  15. Add the fresh cream (if you are using it) and mix well.
  16. Serve warm with rotis or pulkas.

Tips

  • Add about 1/2 tsp of sugar if you like a touch of sweetness.
  • I have found that you do not need any cream because the cashew paste and milk give it the required richness.
  • If you don’t like to use too much cashew, substitute with 1/2 a sweet onion. Be sure to roast the sweet onion in a little oil before grinding.
  • I don’t boil the peas because they become mushy.
  • If you don’t mind a hint of bitterness, chop the fenugreek roughly (but not too fine) to release the bitterness.

Menthi Koora Patholi (Dry Curry with Bengal Gram and Fenugreek Leaves)

Menthi Koora Patholi or Fenugreek Leaves with Bengal Gram
Menthi Koora Patholi

This is a variation of the classic Andhra dish called Patholi and is something I like very much. It is a dry side-dish that combines protein-packed Chana dal with iron-rich Methi. It also helps in reducing the bitterness of the methi leaves.

Ingredients

  1. Chana Dal/Husked Bengal Gram – 1 Cup
  2. Methi/Fenugreek Leaves – 2 Packed Cups
  3. Rai or Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Jeera or Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  5. Udad Dal or Husked Black Gram – 1 tsp
  6. Red Chillies – 2 or 3
  7. Haldi or Turmeric – 1/8 tsp
  8. Hing or Asafoetida – 2 Large Pinches
  9. Oil – 2 tbsp
  10. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Soak the chana dal in about 2 cups water for at least 4 hours.
  2. Drain the water completely from the chana dal.
  3. Without adding any water, grind the chana dal to a coarse paste with salt and turmeric.
  4. In a heavy-bottomed kadai/wok, heat the oil.
  5. Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
  6. Add the udad dal and fry till it is light brown.
  7. Add cumin seeds and split red chillies.
  8. Stir-fry for 10 seconds.
  9. Add the fenugreek leaves.
  10. Stir-fry till the leaves wilt and reduce in quantity.
  11. Add hing.
  12. Fry for 2-3 seconds.
  13. Add the chana dal paste.
  14. Stir-fry till the chana dal paste is cooked and mostly dry.
  15. Serve hot with rice and ghee.

Tips

  • Use as little water as possible in the dal paste. This will help it cook faster and with lesser amount of oil.
  • If your dal paste is watery, strain it through a cloth to get rid of as much water as possible.

Menthi Podi

Menthi Podi
Menthi Podi

This podi/powder cannot be eaten by itself but is used to make many dry kooras/curries. It is a staple in my home and can liven up many a staid koora.

Ingredients

  1. Sengaga Pappu/Chana Dal/Bengal Gram – 1/2 Cup
  2. Minapappu/Udad Dal/Black Gram – 1/2 Cup
  3. Menthulu/Methi Dana/Fenugreek Seeds – 1.5 tbsp
  4. Red Chillies – 8 to 10
  5. Oil – 1 tsp
  6. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. In a heavy bottomed kadai/wok, heat the oil.
  2. Add senaga pappu, minapappu, menthulu, and red chillies.
  3. Over medium heat, roast them till the pappu/dals turn light brown.
  4. Stir constantly.
  5. Let the dals cool.
  6. Add salt and grind to a coarse powder.
  7. Store in an air-tight container.

Menthi Koora Pappu (Methi Dal/Lentils with Fresh Fenugreek)

Menthi Koora Pappu or Methi ki Dal or Lentils with Fenugreek Leaves

Menthi Koora Pappu or Methi ki Dal or Lentils with Fenugreek Leaves

Menthi Koora Pappu (Methi Dal) is a sweet-and-bitter dal that is very different from the normal dals. But it is so full of flavour and brings out the best taste of Methi.

You can eat this dal with both rotis and rice.

Ingredients

  1. Fresh Methi Leaves/Menthi Aaku/Fenugreek Leaves – 3 Packed Cups
  2. Tuvar Dal/Kandi Pappu – 1 Cup
  3. Grated Jaggery – 4 tbsp
  4. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  5. Ghee – 2 tsp
  6. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  7. Red Chillies – 3 or 4
  8. Asafoetida/Hing – a pinch
  9. Salt to Taste
  10. Water

Method

  1. Chop methi leaves.
  2. Pressure cook dal with 2 Cups water till it is soft.
  3. Mash with a heavy ladle.
  4. In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat ghee.
  5. Add mustard seeds and let them sputter.
  6. Add red chillies and fry for 5 secs.
  7. Add hing and mix.
  8. Add methi leaves.
  9. On a medium flame, stir fry methi leaves are soft.
  10. Add about 3/4 Cup water.
  11. Add jaggery and cook till jaggery melts.
  12. Add mashed dal, turmeric, and salt.
  13. Mix well.
  14. Add more water, if required.
  15. Bring to a boil.
  16. Serve hot with rice and ghee, or roti.

Tips

  • Do not chop methi leaves, if you want to reduce the bitter taste. 🙂
  • You could use sugar instead of jaggery.
  • You could use oil instead of ghee. 🙁