Hot on the heels of his treatise on fenugreek from last week's Farm Bulletin, Anthony shares a response and a pair of recipes from reader Rahul Vora.
"Methi leaves are treated more like a green than like an herb in Indian cooking, though dried methi (also called kasoori methi) is sometimes used in northern Indian cooking as an herb in lentil soups (dals) to give an earthy, slightly bitter aromatic accent. In Ayurvedic medicine, methi (in leaf and seed form) is considered to have many medicinal properties and nutritive values. Lots of info on that on the web."
Aloo Methi (Potatoes cooked with Fenugreek greens)
This is a popular North Indian dish.
1 1/2 c. fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves (cleaned, washed and chopped)
2-3 med. potatoes peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1 med. tomato (chopped)
1-2 cloves garlic (crushed)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
Red chili powder (or cayenne or paprika) to taste
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
2-3 whole dry red chilies
2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Heat oil and add crushed garlic and fry till brown. Add cumin seeds and dry red chilies.
When cumin seeds are slightly browned and chilies turn brown add salt, turmeric, chili powder and chopped tomato. Sauté for a moment. Add potatoes and mix well. Cook till potatoes are half done on a medium flame. Add some water if the potatoes get too dry.
Add methi and cook on a medium flame till done and most of the liquid has evaporated. Adjust salt and squeeze a little lime juice. Serve the aloo methi hot with chapati, naan or rice accompanied with some plain yogurt. I like it with whole wheat tortillas - you can make a delicious burrito/wrap with aloo methi as the filling and a little yogurt for dressing.
Murgh Methi (Chicken cooked with fenugreek greens)
Adapted from A Taste of India by Madhur Jaffrey
This dish comes from the Hyderabadi cuisine of southern India. It combines the earthiness of the fenugreek greens with the tanginess of yogurt to create a delicious sauce in which browned pieces of chicken are braised gently. It is important to pick just the leaves and discard all the stems for this dish to ensure a sublime sauce. In another variation, chopped fresh dill is used instead of fenugreek leaves for an equally delightful version called Murgh Sooa.
3 lb. chicken pieces (I like thighs), skinned.
1" piece of ginger, minced
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 lg. onions, cut in half lengthwise and cut crosswise into fine half rings
1 1/4 c. plain yogurt (preferrably whole milk)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. well-packed chopped fresh cilantro
2-4 fresh serrano chillies, slit but kept whole.
1 cup well-packed fresh fenugreek leaves
In a wide-based pan or dutch oven, heat the oil and sauté the onions until they brown lightly. Add the chicken pieces. Stir them around until they turn golden brown. Now add the ginger, garlic and turmeric. Stir and cook on a medium-high heat for another 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the yogurt and sat. Stir, scraping the bottom. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 15 mins, until the chicken is almost done.
Add the cilantro, chillies and the fenugreek greens along with 1/2 cup water. Simmer for 5 mins. until the sauce has thickened and clings to the chicken. Serve with naan or basmati rice.