Methi (Fenugreek Leaves) are bitter in taste and so everyone may not like them, however, this curry removes the bitterness of fenugreek leaves. It is also mild in taste and hence combines well with the other spicy curries. It is a popular North Indian Dish and is generally made during winters when fresh fenugreeek is available. The combination of methi and matar goes well. Methi malai mutter is mostly found in the restaurants serving North Indian (Punjabi) food. You will find this dish popular in the parties or marriages as it helps in balancing the platter with other spicy dishes.
The ingredients methi and peas are rich in nutrition and are found fresh in winters. Methi leaves help in improving haemoglobin levels in our body, maintaining sugar level for diabetic, aid digestion and improving eye sight. They are very beneficial post pregnancies and for nursing mothers. Peas are very good in proteins, folate, Iron , manganese, and are good source of fibre and vitamins.
The creamy texture of the dish is achieved by adding cream and cashewnuts to it. Onions help in giving sweetness to the dish.
Many people like to sprinkle salt over methi and then squeeze out excess water from it. The bitterness of the methi is removed by this process.
I have blanched the chopped methi leaves for two minutes with salt and a pinch of turmeric. Then drained it and poured cold water over it. This helps in cooking the methi and removing the bitterness from it. I also found that it helps in retaining the green colour of methi.
I did not want to add cream to it . To get the creamy texture I have used cashewnuts and along with it I have used skimmed milk powder. It gave me the same creamy texture but with less calories. I have just added a tablespoon of butter in it to get the buttery flavor. I have boiled onions, cashews and garlic together and then blended them. This gave me the smooth silky gravy.
I generally keep onions, cashews and garlic for boiling while I am chopping the fenugreeek leaves. In the other pan keep peas to boil. By the time the onions are about to done, I blanch the fenugreek leaves which takes only 2-3 minutes. Just cool the onions and then grind them to a smooth paste. By this time the peas should also be cooked.
I generally use fresh fenugreek leaves. But this time I could not get fresh fenugreek leaves (difficult to find them in Sydney), I have used the frozen ones. It gave me the same result.
I have also used some strands of saffron to give it more rich and ‘shahi’ aroma.
So to summarize, following are the steps:
- Chop, wash and blanch the methi leaves with salt and turmeric. Drain and run cold water over it.
- Boil onion, cashews and garlic together. Cool and grind it into smooth paste.
- Cook the methi malai matar.
The methi malai matar goes well with roti, naan, rice or puris.
At my house we like to have it with layered parathas (Parat Parathas) containing spices on it. The spices go well with mild gravy. I will soon update my parathas recipe.
Methi Malai Mutter
- 5 medium onions chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 25 g cashew nuts
- 250 g fenugreek leaves (methi leaves) blanched and chopped. I have used the frozen fenugreek leaves and blanched them.
- 1/4 cup milk powder
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 bayleaf
- 3 cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick one inch
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander cumin powder
- 1 tsp kitchen king masala
- 2 tsp ginger garlic and chilli paste
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 100 g cottage cheese paneer (optional)
- 14 saffron strands
- salt as per taste
- water as required
- In a pan boil chopped onions, cashewnuts and garlic. Just add the water till the onions are just covered. Boil it till the onion, cashewnuts and garlic softens and water is dried.
- Remove in a plate to get cool.
- Grind into a smooth paste and keep aside. The colour is dark as I have used red onions.
- In a pan heat oil. Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamon stick.
- Now add the ground onion paste. Saute it for 5 minutes.
- Add the coriander cumin seed powder and Kitchen King masala to it.Mix well.
- Now add milk powder and mix well. See that lumps are not formed. Stir well. ( If you do not want to add milk powder directly then just make a paste of it by adding little water and add to the sauted onion paste)
- Mix them well and saute it for 5 minutes
- Now add the blanched fenugreek leaves and cooked peas.
- Mix well and add ginger garlic and chilli paste and garam masala. Mix it well and saute for two minutes.
- Now add the cut paneer cubes to it. (adding paneer to the dish is optional).
- Add few strands of saffron (keep aside some for garnishing). Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the butter to it.
- Mix well and cook for 2 minutes
- Serve hot. Garnish with 2-3 saffron strands.
- Serve with parat paratha or roti, naan, or rice