Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Fenugreek Seeds (Methi, Menthulu)

Fenugreek Seeds (Menthulu, Methi)

The one flavor category that is fading away from our meals today is the “bitter” flavor. The bitter taste category is considered to be one of the most healing and cleansing tastes by Ayurveda. Use of fenugreek seeds in traditional tadka is a good way to incorporate the bitter taste once in a while.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a member of the pea family. Fenugreek plant is an annual with yellowish-white flowers and its pods contain 10-20 seeds. The common method of harvesting is to uproot the whole plant, allow them to dry in the Sun and then remove the seeds by threshing.

Whole fenugreek seeds have no aroma but once ground, they release flavor and sharp, spicy aroma. These seeds are very high in protein. 3.5 ounces (100 gms) of uncooked seeds supply 23 gms of protein. This is almost equivalent to the amount of protein found in a 3 -3.5 ounces serving of meat, fish or poultry.

Fresh Fenugreek, Menthi Kura, Methi
Fresh Fenugreek Leaves (Menthi Kura, Methi)

Methi (Fenugreek) Sprouts
Fenugreek Sprouts (Methi, Menthula Molakalu)

Fenugreek seed sprouts are used in salads. These sprouts are rich in iron and phosphorous. Juice from the sprouts is considered a cleanser of the kidneys and bladder.

In Maharashtra, we make an interesting pickle with methi sprouts, called Methi-Mirchi. This pickle stays good just for one to two days .

¼ cup fenugreek sprouts
1 Green Chilli – slit in middle and then cut into small pieces
2 tsp Mustard seeds
Pinch each - Asafoetida and turmeric
1 Lemon and salt to taste

Heat oil. Add mustards seeds, asafoetida, and turmeric. When mustard seeds start to pop, then add fenugreek sprouts and green Chilli. Mix well. Take off the heat. Add salt to taste and squeeze lemon juice. This pickle has a great combination of bitter, spicy and sour tastes.

Methi-Mirchi Pickle ~ From Anjali's Kitchen
Methi-Mirchi Pickle ~ From Anjali’s Kitchen

Fenugreek seeds are antiseptic and warming. It also has expectorant qualities and is used to ease coughs and sore throat. Fenugreek tea is used as a Blood builder and cleanser.

To make fenugreek tea – bruise 2 tablespoons of seeds. Add four cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for ten minutes. Add honey or lemon to flavor.

One of the five spices in Panch phoran is fenugreek seed. They are also added in curry powder, sambar powder and essential picking spice. It’s a very common practice for most of us to add a few fenugreek seeds to tadka when making everyday dal.

Dal-Methi with fenugreek seeds is a common dal among us Maharashtrians. I make this dal at least 2-3 times a month and it’s a good way to introduce fenugreek seeds to kids.

To one cup toor dal, add two to three teaspoons of fenugreek seeds and two cups of water. Pressure-cook to soft. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds, turmeric, green chilli and asafoetida. Add the toor dal-methi mix. Cook for two minutes. Season with salt and cilantro. Serve with roti.

Ingredients for Dal-Methi ~ from Anjali's Kitchen
Ingredients for Dal-Methi ~ from Anjali’s Kitchen

Ah! And how can we talk about fenugreek seeds and not talk about Fenugreek Seed Laddu (Methi Laddu)? Considered to be good for health and winter warmers, methi laddus are consumed in winter season to ward off cold, cough and fever. Here is a simple methi laddu recipe from Bawarchi.

It’s also a common practice in many parts of India to give methi laddu to the lactating mothers. I had these laddus after my daughters birth and many who have tasted these laddus would agree with me that they do not bring out the “hmm…” feeling. But Lakshmi Ammal of “Cook Food and Serve Love” has come up with an interesting Sweet Fenugreek Pongal. I wish I knew about this pongal eight years back.:) (Since fenugreek seeds are considered a uterine stimulant, they are avoided during pregnancy.)

Packed with protein and punch, and with so many benefits, it’s no wonder that the tiny fenugreek seeds have earned a very respectable place in our Indian spice box.

~ Guest Article by Anjali Damerla of Supreme Spice

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If you have questions about fenugreek seeds, please post them in comments section. Anjali would be glad to answer them for you. Thanks.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Anjali Damerla, Methi, Kasuri Methi (Thursday October 4, 2007 at 6:16 pm- permalink)
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Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts Cookbook Review and Recipe ~ by Veena Parrikar

Veena Parrikar is a dear friend of Mahanandi and me and an occasional guest author on Mahanandi. Her first article was on Iceland. This is her second article, an insightful and engaging cookbook review. I thank Veena for this wonderful contribution!
~ Indira

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There are perhaps as many misconceptions about Indian cuisine as there are restaurants named “Bombay Garden”.

Indian food is tandoori chicken, aloo-matar, saag-paneer, and naan.
It is hot and spicy.
Vegetables are cooked to death.
It starts with frying onions and tomatoes to pulp and ends with a garnish of coriander leaves

One can hardly blame the Western and even some of the Eastern world for harboring these notions. Most Indian restaurants outside India serve the same tired old fare under various guises. The exceptions to these are the upscale “fusion-Indian” restaurants; after all, Indian food cannot be admitted into the Michelin club without a French or “contemporary” accent (pun intended). Over the past few years, South Indian restaurants have slowly gained ground and it is not uncommon to see a Chinese eating masala dosa with her bare hands or a middle-aged white guy slurping rasam at the neighborhood Madras Cafe or Udupi Palace in the USA. The silly notions about Indian food, however, are far from being a thing of the past. For example, the threat of homogenization, albeit of a different kind, hangs heavy like the odor of yesterday’s takeout. The complexity and variation among and within the cuisines of the four states of Southern India (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, and Andhra Pradesh) could never be guessed if one were to go by the menus of these South Indian restaurants. Most of them do not stray far from the familiar idli, vada, masala dosa, uttappam, sambar and rasam, with an indifferent nod to some rice varieties, such as curd rice, lemon rice and tamarind rice. Desserts are still “balls in sugar syrup” (gulab jamun), “ricotta cheese in evaporated milk” (rasmalai), or the occasional rava kesari, leaving in the cold a rich repertoire of jaggery-based sweets that is one of the hallmarks of the cuisines of Southern (and some other states of) India.

To be sure, even within India, availability of the authentic, traditional fare is limited to small niche restaurants, special festivals at star hotels, or if you are lucky, at the homes of neighbors and friends from other communities. Your best bet then, is to recreate many of these dishes in your kitchen, with the help of such cookbooks as Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See, Chandra Padmanabhan’s Dakshin, Saranya Hegde’s Mangalorean Cuisine, Saraswat Mahila Samaj’s Rasachandrika, and Jigyasa-Pratibha’s Cooking at Home with Pedatha.

A new addition to this stellar lineup of traditional Indian cookbooks is Ammini Ramachandran’s Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts: Recipes and Remembrances of a Vegetarian Legacy.

Grains, Greens and Grated Coconuts ~ Cookbook by Ammini Ramachandran
Grains, Greens and Grated Coconuts ~ Cookbook by Ammini Ramachandran

Ammini’s book fills a lacuna in the Indian cookbook landscape. Books on the cuisine of Kerala abound; however, most of them have a predominance of seafood dishes. Small wonder then that Kerala food, like most other coastal cuisines, is perceived to be primarily non-vegetarian. One food writer and journalist in India even declared that most Malayali vegetarian dishes are terrible! One knows, of course, not to take such statements without the proverbial pinch of salt, and a large one at that. Having encountered the delectable and varied vegetarian fare of the coastal cuisines of Goa and Karnataka, I had always suspected a similar treasure existed in Kerala. Eating and learning it, was another matter altogether, what with the lack of Kerala-food restaurants, close friends from the state, or opportunities to set forth on a voyage of discovery to its shores. With Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts, some of the vegetarian food of Kerala is now just a coconut (or two) away.

The present state of Kerala was formed by the merger of Kochi (Cochin), Tiruvithamcore (Travancore), and Malabar. Each of these regions, originally Hindu, was subject to varying degrees of Muslim and Christian influences. Accordingly, Kerala cuisine represents the confluence of Hindu, Muslim, and Christian traditions. Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts presents the traditional vegetarian cuisine of central Kerala including some from the Kochi royalty. It is one of the first cookbooks to focus on a Hindu culinary tradition of Kerala.

Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts is one of the finest Indian cookbooks to have been written in recent times. Here’s why:

1. Traditional food, when presented for a worldwide (read Western) audience, undergoes a simplification, motivated largely by the authors’ and publishers’ goal to widen the book’s market reach. Recipes are modified to exclude exotic or not-easily-available ingredients; difficult processes might be eliminated or substituted with commercial alternatives; and dishes that do not conform to the health fad of the day might be passed over. Except for a few dishes, food from Kerala is obscure even to many Indians, leave alone the non-Indian readers. Ammini has barely made any changes to her family recipes, yet her presentation makes them seem extremely do-able. She does not hesitate to include preparations with such exotic vegetables as breadfruit, jackfruit, and suran. Ammini has pulled off a seemingly impossible feat in Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts: she has preserved the originality of her traditional family recipes, and made them accessible to those outside the tradition, without overwhelming the reader with tedious detail. Novice cooks might miss having pictures of the finished dishes; the clarity of instructions, however, make up for this to a very large extent.

2. There is none of the anything-goes attitude to ingredients adopted by many modern Indian cookbooks published in the West. No false assurances are provided about difficult ingredients such as coconut milk. She tells us that coconut milk powder can be used instead, but clearly informs that the taste will not be authentic. We are told right at the onset: “My mother always insisted, “Never skimp on the quality or quantity of ingredients,” and I believe it is the first lesson in good cooking.” This is reflected in the meticulous detail provided in the chapter on ingredients.

3. Ammini’s family recipes create dishes that would go a long way in dispelling some of the popular myths about Indian cuisine. Spices are used in skillful moderation (garam masala powder never makes an apperance in this book), the vegetables and grains hold their shape and retain their flavour, and you will encounter delicate and subtly-flavoured curries that will never be found in a restaurant.

4. There is a detailed chapter on the history and development of ancient spice trade in Kerala, and to those who have not previously enquired into such matters, this chapter offers many surprises. The book also provides a very engaging account of the kitchens, culinary customs, and festivals and celebrations of Ammini’s maiden family. A world that is now almost extinct rises vividly from the pages and for a brief while, you forget the harried and hurried pace of your existence (and the pre-made frozen food in your kitchen). This is a serious yet enjoyable work, not just another cloying food “memoir” that is in fashion these days.

The book has been written for a Western audience, but readers in India will find much of profit. Such ancient traditional recipes do not come by very often. I am no alarmist, but it seems as though our traditional cuisines will soon exist only within the homes of determined souls or in five-star hotels. Even wedding feasts in India - the last stronghold of traditional food - seem to have embraced a global integration philosophy: Mushroom Pasta and Gobi Manchurian now jostle for buffet space with tava vegetables, Spanish rice, and Shahi Paneer.

Our culinary traditions, not unlike our ancient classical music, have been poorly documented for far too long, what with the practitioners jealously guarding their treasures from outsiders for various reasons. With the passing of generations, more and more of this body of knowledge will be lost. We hope there will be many more Amminis, who will not only document their family or community recipes painstakingly and truthfully, but also share it generously with others.

Srimati Ammini Ramachandran
Srimati Ammini Ramachandran ~ Cookbook Author

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Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices
(Recipe from Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts)

I was intrigued by this recipe as it did not include sambar powder, and at first glance, seemed similar to some of my daal-vegetable preparations. The finished dish was neither like the familiar sambar nor my usual daal-with-vegetables. With powdered spices (except asafetida and turmeric) as well as ginger-garlic absent, the flavour of toor dal is allowed to hold centerstage, complemented by the freshness of the potatoes, herbs, and lemon juice. I stayed faithful to the recipe as I am wont to do when attempting traditional recipes for the first time. There is a slight error of omission in the recipe, but a missing pinch of turmeric is not a show-stopper.

Recipe:

1 cup toor dal
1 medium russet potato or 3 taro, peeled and cubed
2 medium tomatoes cubed
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¾ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
¼ cup finely chopped fresh fenugreek leaves (preferred, if available)
or ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
6 fresh green chilies (serrano or Thai), thinly sliced (less for a milder taste)
4 tablespoons lemon juice

For seasoning and garnish:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 dried red cayenne, serrano, or Thai chili, halved
¼ teaspoon asafetida powder
20 to 25 fresh curry leaves

Ingredients for Pacha Sambar
Clockwise:Toor Dal, Fresh Fenugreek, Tomatoes, Curry Leaves, Green Chillies, Potatoes, Lemons, Cilantro

Wash and clean the toor dal in several changes of water, until the water runs clear. If you are using oily toor dal, the oil must be washed off before starting to cook. Place the toor dal in a saucepan with two and a half cups of water and a half-teaspoon of turmeric powder. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, then turn down the heat, and cook for twenty-five to thirty minutes. (As an alternative, you may use a pressure cooker to cook the dal, following the manufacturer’s directions. It will take about six to eight minutes to cook in a pressure cooker.) As the dal cooks, it should be fairly thick but still liquid; stir in another half-cup of water if it is too thick. Mash the cooked toor dal thoroughly with a spoon, and set it aside.

Combine the potato (or taro), tomatoes, salt, turmeric, and two cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring it to a boil. Stir in the cilantro, fenugreek, and green chilies. Reduce the heat, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Stir in the cooked toor dal, and simmer for four to five minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Remove it from the heat, and set it aside.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a small skillet, and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the halved red chili, asafetida, and curry leaves. Remove it from the stove, and pour the seasoning over the cooked curry. Cover and set aside for ten minutes, to
allow the flavors to blend. Serve hot with rice and a second curry.

Makes 4 to 6 servings if served with another curry, as is traditional.

Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices
Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices

~Guest Post by Veena Parrikar

Notes:
Ammini Ramachandran’s website : Peppertrail.com.
For a detailed list of contents and exceprts from the book, see www.peppertrail.com.
Grains, Greens and Grated Coconut is available at Amazon.com, iUniverse.com and Barnes&Nobles
Recommend this cookbook to your local libraries
Author and Book Cover Photo Credits: Ammini Ramachandran, Recipe Photo Credits: Rajan Parrikar
Veena Parrikar’s previous article at Mahanandi: Iceland

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Toor Dal, Kottimera(Cilantro), Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Reviews: Cookbooks, Veena Parrikar (Monday March 19, 2007 at 12:22 am- permalink)
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Scrumptious Sabjis ~ Methi Matar Malai

Here is an easy meal idea that will taste like you spent hours in the kitchen, when in reality all you would need to do is pluck few leaves, open few packets and grind some masala paste. 10 minutes in front of the stove, the result would be a very comforting creamy curry that is appropriate for family meal or a gathering of friends.

Speaking of friends get-togethers, we were invited a potluck party yesterday and I prepared some sweets with homemade malai. I kept a small cup of malai to the side to prepare this scrumptious sabji today. Store bought evaporated milk or concentrated almond milk/rice milk also works for this recipe. Give it a try.


from Hindi to English - Methi (Fenugreek), Matar (Peas) and Malai (Cream)

Recipe:

Fresh fenugreek leaves (methi) - 1 cup
Fresh peas (matar) - 1 cup
Malai (cream) - half cup
(homemade or store-bought evaporated milk - unsweetened variety)
2 red potatoes - peeled and cubed to bite sized pieces
Salt and turmeric to taste or half teaspoon each
Peanut oil or ghee - one teaspoon

Masala paste: One small red onion or shallot, one inch size ginger, six green chillies, two cloves, one inch piece of cinnamon stick, one teaspoon cumin and quarter cup of fresh peas (peas are added to thicken the sauce) - Grind to smooth consistency by adding half cup of water in a blender.

Heat oil in a wide skillet.

Add and saute the masala paste for 5 minutes on medium heat until the paste starts to turn red.

Now add one after another, first potatoes, then fenugreek leaves and finally peas. Do a quick stir-fry until the leaves wilt.

Add malai (evaporated milk). Stir in salt and turmeric and about 1 cup of water. (I also added a half teaspoon of jaggery which helps to bring out the sweetness of peas. But this is optional.) Cover and cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat until potatoes and peas are cooked to tender and the sauce thickens. Serve warm. Tastes superb with chapatis or with naans.

My latest find is garlic naan from frozen section of Trader Joe’s. One packet is priced at 2 dollars and contains 4 good sized naans which are prepared in India and vacuum packed. We just have to heat them on stove-top or in oven. The flour, the layers, the garlic topping - very flavorful and quality stuff. Well, they are from India. Need I say more?

Methi Matar Malai with Garlic Naan
Methi Matar Malai with Garlic Naan ~ Our Meal Today

Recipe adapted from Vee’s Past, Present and Me

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Milk, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Baby Potatoes, Peas (Bataani) (Thursday February 15, 2007 at 2:31 pm- permalink)
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Menthi Beerakaya (Methi-Turai Curry)

Our kitty, Kittaya enjoys greens. He likes to eat cilantro, wheat grass and catnip. His latest green find is methi (fresh fenugreek leaves). He picks up a branch with his mouth and walks around the house munching on the leaves. Kitties are notoriously finicky eaters, some of you may know this already and we are extremely happy with his new choice. See, we like fresh methi too. So the recent routine is, almost every week we buy a bundle of fresh fenugreek from local Indian grocery shop. I keep few branches for Kittaya on the side in a vase. With the remaining I was trying out different recipes. One such recipe is methi with ridge gourd (turai, beerakaya). Sweet tasting vegetables like ridge gourd and potato etc compliment potent fresh methi. Easy to prepare, decent curry to have with chapatis or with rice and dal. A different taste but nonetheless a good one.

Fresh Fenugreek Leaves and Ridge Gourd Pieces (Turai, Beerakaya)
Fresh Methi and Ridge Gourd Pieces

Recipe:

2 ridge gourds (peel the ridges, wash and chop to bite sized pieces)
1 bunch fresh fenugreek (Wash and chop or pluck the leaves)
1 onion - finely chopped
6 green chillies and one tsp of grated coconut - finely ground in a spice grinder
Turmeric and salt to taste
Ingredients for popu or tadka (1 tsp each - oil, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds)

Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast popu ingredients in the order listed. When mustard seeds start to jump around, add the onion. Saute until the onion pieces soften. Add ridge gourd pieces. Mix. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Ridge gourd pieces usually are tender and they cook fast. Methi leaves won’t take more than two or three minutes to wilt/cook.

At the end of 10 minutes, add methi leaves, green chilli-coconut paste, turmeric and salt. Mix and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring in-between. Serve hot with rice or with chapati.


Methi Turai Curry (Menthi Beerakaya) with Plain Toor Dal Rasam and Rice ~ Our Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Menthi Kura(Fenugreek) (Tuesday February 13, 2007 at 3:40 pm- permalink)
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How to Food Blog? ~ Live and Let Live philosophy & Methi-Nariyal Pulao (Fenugreek-Coconut Pilaf)

The holiday season is here in US!

Food blogging community is abuzz with calls for donations and charity drives, to show that we are not some greedy gluttons always in search of next best exotic ingredient, and we have a compassionate heart. Good things we are doing. Also without some family ‘discussions’, where is the joy in holidays? In last few weeks, we’ve seen amateur gourmets to who spits wine, issuing ultimatums to the community. One blogger writes stop being mediocre, stop writing about what you had for lunch and urges us to strive for the foodie exhibitionist avatar, him in a nutshell. And one wants to name and shame the bloggers who don’t provide - ha… the terminal crime, RSS feeds. Imagine the audacity of some food bloggers, who wish for people to spend some time visiting their page and recipes they laid out neatly, instead of being treated like ‘grab and gulp’ fast food road stops. Imagine, for all their hard work, some food bloggers want people visit their actual web page, instead of being one more bland white page in a RSS feed hell.

Just few lunches with corporate promoted celebrity chefs and few sponsored dinner reservations at 300 dollars a meal - French Laundry, is all one needs these days to act like all-knowing, bloggity wisdom dispensers. Like utterly corrupted evangelical leaders that issue bully ultimatums of one has to follow only their religion to enter the heaven, these food bloggers who tasted the fame, suddenly forgot their beginner days of blogging and thunder on us, to write like them and do what they do, to enter the golden greedy gates of mainstream fame. What if the ‘mediocre’ home cooks start writing what’s on their minds about such things? These sermon serving, self-proclaimed soul savers, will they be ready to hear how shallow they sound in their daily posts.

What happened to “live and let live” philosophy?

They may join forces with few food magazine columnists in demeaning the home cooks who blog about cheese sandwiches - the everyday food. But they keep forgetting that home cooking and bloggers who write about lunch meal recipes have been the building bones of food blogging community. Home cooks in general are compassionate, understanding and gentle. Rarely narcissistic and flashy. Not only towards the ingredients and the recipes they blog, but also in their writing style and in interaction with readers. This approach is considered boring and mediocre by advice dispensers. Really? If we want to read glorified, glibbery accounts of restaurant food or doltish gibberish of kitchen mishaps, or how micro plane zester or some latest kitchen gizmo saved their cooking - we already have puffed up Frank Bruni and his kind’s writings in newspapers and food magazines, all available free at the local libraries. These ‘wannabe’ food bloggers may think they are being original, but who are they kidding?

I blame the current tide in food blogging world on holiday pressures. I do hope that this drive to conform foodbloggers to their thinking passes once the holiday season is over. There are many ways and many reasons to blog. Live and Let Live. With that said, here is today’s recipe - what I had for lunch, very much homemade, not RSS fed - coconut and fenugreek pulao.

Aromatic basmati rice, sweet homemade coconut milk and potent fresh fenugreek leaves - cooked together is a recipe that I have learnt from my mother and very much illustrates the ingenuity and wisdom of home cook. Nutritious, wholesome and a one-pot meal, give it a try.


Homemade Coconut Milk, Basmati Rice, Fresh Fenugreek Leaves

Recipe:

2 cups basmati rice
2 cups fresh methi (fresh fenugreek) leaves
6 chillies - sliced thin lengthwise
1 cup fresh peas
1 cup finely sliced onion - lengthwise
½ cup homemade coconut milk or ¼ cup of store-bought type
½ cup roasted cashews (optional)
1 teaspoon each - ghee or peanut oil and salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon each - black peppercorns, cloves and fresh ginger pieces
coarsely grind using a spice mill or in a mortar with pestle

Wash and soak basmati rice in 3 cups of water for about 15 - 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a thick-bottomed wide pot, heat ghee or oil on high heat. Add and fry the onions first and then the peppercorn-clove-ginger paste and chillies. Add the fresh peas and fresh methi leaves. Stir-fry until the leaves wilt.

Add the basmati rice and along with the water it soaked in. Stir in coconut milk and salt. Mix thoroughly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered for about 15 to 20 minutes. By the end of 20 minutes, the water will be absorbed and rice will be cooked to perfection. At this time, add and gently mix roasted cashews. Close the lid and let the rice sit for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve hot. Sprinkle in some lime/lemon juice just before serving.

Coconut milk and fresh peas balance methi ruchi (flavor). Basmati and roasted cashews addition makes it even more pleasant. Good meal when combined with a kurma/kofta curry or just plain yogurt/raita.


Methi-Nariyal Pulao with Yogurt ~ Our lunch today

Added on Dec 7:
Thanks for all your responses. It has been a lively discussion. Glad to see this topic has given all of us a chance to express our ideas about food blogging and how to do it. I had to scrub four comments because of the rude and soliciting nature of the content.
Also, thanks very much for trying out the recipe and letting me know. I greatly appreciate it!
- Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Amma & Authentic Andhra, Basmati Rice, Coconut (Fresh), Menthi Kura(Fenugreek) (Wednesday December 6, 2006 at 7:46 pm- permalink)
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Methi Chole (Fenugreek~Chickpeas Curry)

“One remarkable thing about Rajasthani recipes is, without the usage of Onions and Garlic, the dishes that are prepared are remarkably tasty. One such dish which stole my heart is Methiwale Kabuli Chhole (Chick peas with fenugreek leaves). This curry is prepared both in dry and gravy version. But my suggestion is to prepare semi gravy version. If you taste this once, you would love to try this out again and again.”

- Writes cooking guru Sri Hemant Trivedi in his introduction to chickpea-fenugreek curry. As weather turned to cold and gray, kitchen and food have become my source of warmth and comfort, among other things. Chickpeas are one of my favorite winter comfort foods and I am always on the lookout for new recipes to try with this wonder legume. The methi chole recipe from Trivedi’s fabulous website sounded interesting and I gave it a try last weekend.

Of course I had to alter the recipe to suit my tastes. I have added onions, omitted ginger-garlic, and I prepared the curry with fresh green chickpeas. Trader Joe’s, the nearby grocery shop carries fresh green chickpeas in frozen section. One-pound packet was available for $1.99. Like freshly shelled peas, fresh green chickpeas taste good, and when combined with potent fenugreek, they made a great combination. Chana masala infused with fenugreek magic is methi chole. Give it a try.

 Fresh Green Chickpeas, Fresh Fenugreek (methi) Leaves, Ripe Tomato
Fresh Green Chickpeas, Fresh Fenugreek (methi) Leaves, Ripe Tomato

Recipe:

2¼ cups of green chickpeas (chana, green garbanzos)
(of which ¼ cup removed and pureed to smooth paste - to thicken the sauce)
2 cups of fresh methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)
4 big, ripe, juicy tomatoes - cut to small pieces
1 onion - finely chopped
Seasoning:
1 tablespoon of chana masala powder
Salt, chilli powder, turmeric, jaggery (or sugar) and amchur powder - to taste or ½ teaspoon each
1 teaspoon of ghee

In a big saucepan, heat ghee on medium heat.
Add and saute onions to soft.
Add fresh methi leaves and cook for about two minutes, until leaves collapse.
Add the green chickpeas and tomatoes. Stir in the pureed chickpea paste, and all the seasoning. Add about 2 cups of water.
Cover and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring in-between, on medium heat, until the chickpeas become tender. Serve the methi-chole warm with chapatis.

This recipe can also be prepared with dried chickpeas (soak and cook them to tender first and follow the recipe steps mentioned above).

Pot of Methi Chole and Chapatis on the Side
Pot of methi chole and chapatis on the side ~ Our Weekend Meal

Green Garbanzo Beans - purchased at Trader Joe’s, frozen section.
Fresh Methi (fenugreek leaves) - purchased at Indian grocery shops
Recipe source and adapted from - Sri Hemant Trivedi and from ‘Spice is Right’

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Monday November 13, 2006 at 12:42 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Menthi ~ From Pot to Plate

Menthi, Methi, Fenugreek:

Picking from the Planter
Plucking Menthi from the Planter

Cutting into Small Pieces
Cutting Menthi

Fresh, Flavorful Meal on a Sunday ~
Menthi Dal Mixed with Rice, and Mango Pickle
Menthi Dal Mixed with Rice, & Mango Pickle

This is my contribution to “Green Blog Project” started and hosted by my favorite newbie food blogger, lovely and talented, an avid gardener from Zone-10, Inji Pennu of Ginger and Mango.

How Menthi Started - Here
Menthi Dal Recipe - Here

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Indian Kitchen, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek) (Sunday May 21, 2006 at 4:47 pm- permalink)
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Growing Menthi From Sprouts

Methi (Fenugreek) Sprouts

Menthi (Methi, Fenugreek) Sprouts (Planted on March 10th)

Methi growing in a container

Menthi growing in a container (On April 22nd)

Fresh baby methi (fenugreek) leaves

Closeup of baby menthi

I did the sprouting thing with methi to try methi sprouts salad last month and found that the salad was very bitter for my taste. I planted the leftover methi sprouts in a container. (Sprinkled the sprouts on soil and covered them loosely with soil.) Watered them daily and kept the container in direct sunlight. After a month, they are now at this size, growing healthy and in a beautiful shade of green. So pretty to look at.

I’ve plans to plant mint, coriander,tomato and peas. So what are you planning to grow this spring/summer?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Indian Kitchen, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek) (Sunday April 23, 2006 at 12:08 pm- permalink)
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Aloo Methi (Potato-Menthikura)

Though ordinary in looks, Aloo methi- the famous north Indian curry is full of flavor. Boiled and quartered baby potatoes are sautéed with methi (fresh fenugreek leaves) and generously flavored with pan grilled garlic, onions and green chillies - the result is one simple yet delicious curry, which tastes great when combined with rice and dal or with chapatis.

Aloo Methi with Methi dal and rice.
Aloo Methi with Rice and Methi Dal ~ Our Simple Meal Today.

Recipe:
6 baby potatoes - boiled in water until tender and then skins removed and cubed
1 bunch of fresh methi - washed and leaves plucked
1 red onion - finely chopped
4 green chillies - finely chopped
4 garlic cloves - finely chopped
Pinch of turmeric and salt to taste
For popu or tadka - 1 tsp of each, peanut oil, cumin and mustard seeds
*******
In a kadai or sauté pan, heat peanut oil; toast the cumin and mustard seeds. Add and fry the garlic, onion and chillies, stirring well for few minutes. Stir in turmeric and salt. Add the cubed potatoes and sauté them for few minutes until they turn light red. When potatoes are almost done, stir in fresh methi leaves, stir-fry for few minutes, until they wilt. Turnoff the heat, close the lid and allow them to absorb the flavors for few minutes. Turn on to a dish and serve.

Baby Red Potato, Red Onion, Methi Leaf, Garlic and Green chilli
Red onion, Methi leaves, Garlic, Green chilli and Baby red potato - Ingredients for Aloo Methi

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Baby Potatoes (Wednesday March 22, 2006 at 1:44 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Methi Chutney (Fenugreek Chutney)

I was watching David Letterman show on a Monday night few days ago. He was making jokes about Winter Olympics… about Bode Miller, his poor performance and how Germany won the No.1 spot in medal count beating the US etc., He also made a joke about German victory celebrations - “Germany celebrated the No.1 spot in Winter Olympics with a victory parade. It started in Berlin and ended in Poland“. He was of course referring to German occupation of Poland under Hitler. I got the joke, but couldn’t laugh because I was thinking how could he make jokes about Germany, when his own country is committing war crimes, occupying and killing thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Talk about projection. Dave is the most cynical and sharp one in late night circuit, I was surprised at his pretense that Nazi Germany is worse than current US behaviour. US is following the pattern, aren’t they?

Well, anyway, back to cooking, today it’s methi chutney.:) People back in India may wonder how come methi is so popular in Mahanandi’s world? Methi, spinach, and occasionally gongura (ambari) are the only familiar green leafy vegetables available year round in Indian grocery shops here in US. Reason for the methi’s frequent appearance.

Methi Leaves

Methi chutney is completely an acquired taste. Sauteed methi and sesame combined with other ingredients, taste little bit bitter, sour and spicy. If you are going to prepare it from my recipe, first check the list of ingredients, imagine the taste, see if you like the combination, then attempt it. Please don’t nag me if it doesn’t turn out to your expectations in a typical mother-in-law fashion. Some people would say that I didn’t add this, I didn’t do that, or I didn’t cook their way etc., I might have accepted these if I were their daughter-in-law, but I am not :-) .

Recipe:

3 cups of fresh methi leaves (one small bunch)
¼ cup of sesame seeds
8 dried red chillies or more
(This chutney needs a little bit of extra hotness, so don’t skimp on chillies)
2 teaspoons tamarind juice
½ teaspoon urad dal
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon of peanut oil

In a kadai, heat half teaspoon of peanut oil. First add and toast dried red chillies, then sesame seeds and urad dal, until golden. Remove them. In the same kadai heat another half teaspoon of oil and sauté methi leaves for few minutes. Take them all in a plate, wait to cool. Whenever you make these kinds of chutneys always wait for the ingredients to cool, never blend when they are hot. If you do this, the change in taste will be significant.

When they are cool enough to touch, take them in a blender, add tamarind juice and salt. Puree them to smooth paste. If necessary add few tablespoons of water for smooth blending. (Don’t make it too watery.) Remove and serve this chutney with upma or with rice and dal.

 Semolina Upma and Methi Chutney
Semolina Upma with Methi Chutney

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek) (Thursday March 16, 2006 at 2:17 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Methi/Fenugreek Dal (Menthi Kura Pappu)

Fresh Fenugreek, Menthi Kura, Methi

First thing one notices about fresh fenugreek is how beautiful and delicate the leaves are. Then the smell, aromatherapy in truest sense, when pressure cooked with toor dal or sautéed with potatoes, any other vegetable, the leaves release wonderful fragrance. ‘Johnson and Johnson-A family company’, who makes money by beguiling the families with air fresheners and scented oils, if they get the whiff of fresh fenugreek, you bet, you’d see an ayurvedic or eastern themed fenugreek scented oil on shop shelves for sure.

Fenugreek is one of those green leafy veggies, looks innocently innocuous but when cooked, dazzles & grabs your attention by its wonderful aroma and makes you try and like it. For a dal-rice addict like me, nothing beats the taste of rice and dal made of fresh fenugreek leaves. Very tasty and nutrititous, it’s one of my favorite foods. Fenugreek and toor dal combination is a true and tested recipe, very popular in our Raayala seema region of Andhra, again one of those I learned from my mother.

Methi leaves, onion, tomato, green chillies, toor dal and tamarind - ingredients for methi dal

Recipe:

One bunch of fresh fenugreek - washed and leaves plucked
4 fistfuls of Toor dal
1 medium sized onion and tomato - chopped
1o green chillies - finely chopped
Small lime sized tamarind
1/4 tsp of turmeric
Salt to taste

For popu or tadka :

1 tsp each of oil or ghee, mustard seeds, cumin and urad dal
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
Few curry leaves and few pieces of dry red chillies

Preparation:
Cook dal: In a pressure cooker, take toor dal, fenugreek leaves, onion, tomato, green chillies, tamarind and turmeric - add one glass of water and pressure cook them till 3 whistles. When the valve pressure is all released, remove the lid, add half teaspoon of salt and mash the dal using a wood masher to smooth paste.

Do the popu: In a deep bottomed vessel, heat one teaspoon of oil, add the remaining popu or tadka ingredients. Saute till the seeds start crackling, garlic turns red. Pour the cooked and mashed dal, stir well and cover. Tastes great with rice and chapati.

Methi dal (Fenugreek Dal, Menthi Kura Pappu) with Rice and Ghee

Fenugreek dal (Methi Dal or Menthi Kura Pappu) and rice with ghee.

Recipe Source: amma
Fenugreek is available both fresh and frozen in most of Indian grocery shops here in US

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek) (Tuesday December 27, 2005 at 9:54 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org