Methi malai mutter

A very delicious recipe for those who savour a soft, creamy textured gravy. Methi malai mutter – the name literally is a combination of the three main Ingredients of this recipe. literally translated to english it would read Fenugreek Cream Green-peas.

Fenugreek is one of my absolutely favourite leafy vegetables. Though all this time, I never really could find fenugreek outside India. Until the last Friday when my husband came home with a bunch (must have been like 100 gm or so).ūüíĖ

So today was methi malai mutter cooking in my kitchen. And it came out very nice therefore I am penning it down.

Ingredients:

1. Fenugreek leaves – 100 gm

2. Onion – two large

3. Tomato – one large

4. Cream – 1.5 dl

5. Almonds – 10

6. Cashews – 10

7. Salt

8. Bay leaf – 1

9. Black pepper corns – 5-6

10. Green cardamom – 1

11. Cinnamon stick – 1 (approx. inch long)

12. Oil

13. Green peas – 1 bowl

14. Sugar – 1 tsp

Method:

1. Pluck the leaves of fenugreek off the hard stem. All hard stem is to be removed and thrown away. Wash thoroughly in water and keep in a bowl. Now sprinkle around 1/2 tbsp salt on the leaves. Mix a little and let the leaves stand for 15 min.

2. Slice up the onions length wise into thin slices. Take oil in a pan for frying and fry the onion pieces until almost brown. Remove from oil and keep aside.

3. Puree the tomato.

4. Soak almonds and cashews in half a bowl of hot water for 20-25 min.

5. Squeeze out all water from the fenugreek (methi) leaves. Discard the water. Chop up the leaves into small bits.

6. Take 2 tbsp oil in a pan and place on medium-high heat. Add the chopped leaves and stir fry for two minutes. Remove the leaves in a bowl and keep aside.

7. Take 3 tbsp oil in the same pan that we used for frying the leaves. Place it on medium heat. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom, black pepper corns and stir fry until you start to get a nice aroma (this will take like 1 min). Now add the tomato puree and stir fry until tomato starts to leave oil.

8. In the meantime, puree the fried onions. I added about 2 tbsp water in my grinder to help with the grinding.

9. When the tomatoes have oozed out oil, add the pureed fried onions. Mix well and stir fry for another minute.

10. Now add the fried fenugreek (methi) and green peas. Mix well. Reduce the flame and let this simmer for a minute. (I used frozen peas that were already soft). If you are using fresh peas, then par boil them before.

11. Puree the almonds cashew mix to a smooth paste.

12. Add the almonds and cashews paste to the pan where our tomato, onion, peas and fenugreek is cooking. Also add in the cream.

16. Finally add salt, sugar and a little water if you find the gravy to be too thick. A slightly thick gravy is good though.

17. Mix well. Simmer for a few minutes and methi malai mutter is good to eat.

This recipe pairs well with bread (roti, parantha, naan) or with rice.

Besan laddoo

It all started with a simple conversation when my husband and I were hitting bed in the night. He said, “it is Dusshera tomorrow”. I said, “Yes, Do you want to do something special?”

And therefore it came to my mind to prepare something so that we could have some feel of festivities at home. Well, no plan is a plan with a little baby but I went to bed hoping the day after would be a good day and I can possibly prepare some sweet and some good food.

And it was. So first came the besan laddoos.

Ingredients:

1. 2.5 cup of gram flour or besan

2. 1.25 cup of powedered white sugar

3. 2/3 cup ghee

4. 6-7 cardomom crushed finely

5. 6-7 almonds crushed to a powder (optional)

6. 6-7 cashew nuts crushed to a powder (optional)

Method:

The trick and hard work behind besan laddoos is in the roasting of besan. The best is to dry roast the besan first and then add ghee. Doing so saves time and also energy.

So, I dry roasted the gram flour on low-medium heat until it changed colour and started to give a slight nutty fragrance. This took me at least 25 min. It is very important to stir continuously to avoid uneven roasting of the flour. Then I added in the ghee and continued to roast the mixture further. Initially it felt like that the ghee was too much because the mix became flowy. However as I roasted and mixed the ghee with the dry roasted besan all ghee got absorbed into the besan. However this is not where we stop. It is very important to roast ghee and besan until one gets a strong nutty fragrance and the besan starts to ooze out ghee. Then we are done.

Once the besan and ghee was roasted, I switched off the heat and removed the pan from the burner.

At this stage, I added the sugar, cardamom and powedered nuts; and mixed everything well so that no lumps are formed. (Tip: Do not lose heart if there are some lumps. You can crush all the lumps before binding the laddoos). Also my recommendation is to add the nuts powder. Of course you can leave it out if you would wish to do so, but the taste gets enhanced with the nuts.

Finally it is time to let this mixture cool down to room temperature. Once cooled down, take around two table spoons of mixture in between your palm(s) and bind into round laddoos.

Paneer makhni

Paneer makhni literally would translate to Buttered cheese, and that is precisely what this dish is. One of the most famous dishes on any menu that you will find across all sorts of Indian restaurants around the world. 
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The catch many times is the taste. Most restaurants run by non-Indian or non-native Indian people are not able to do justice to this dish. Many others would fill it with a lot of cream to cover the taste even though that is not the traditional way of doing it. Traditionally butter is added or was added to this recipe however I tried taking that out to make a healthier version of this age old dish. So let us look right in on what is needed.

Ingredients: 

  1. Khada masala (Whole black cardamom 1, Whole green cardamom 1, Javitri stick 1, Cinnamon stick 1.5 cm long, Cloves 2, Bay leaves 2)
  2. Red chilli powder 1.5 teaspoon
  3. Dried coriander powder 1 teaspoon
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Garam masala 1 teaspoon
  6. Kasoori methi 2 teaspoons
  7. Cashews 3-4 tablespoons
  8. Ginger-garlic paste 2 teaspoons
  9. Finely chopped onion 3-4 tablespoons
  10. Fresh pureed tomato 6 serving spoons or 1 bowl
  11. Paneer – 150 gm
  12. Oil – 3 tablespoons
  13. Water – 1.5 bowl

Preparation:

  1. Soak the cashews in around 3 tablespoons of hot water and keep aside for 15 min
  2. Take oil in a skillet and let it heat up. When hot add all khada masala. You will get a good aroma in around 50 sec. Now add in the onions and half teaspoon salt. Saute the onion on medium heat until slightly brown.
  3. Now add the ginger garlic paste, and sauté until the raw smell is gone
  4. Now add the tomatoes and remaining salt. Cover with a lid and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the tomato starts to ooze oil on the sides. Make sure to stir the tomatoes in between to avoid it from burning. Best is to use a medium flame for this and you can prudently decide what strength works best for your burner.
  5. While the tomatoes are cooking puree the cashews and the water from step 1 to a fine paste.
  6. When the tomatoes are oozing out oil, add the cashews and stir well. Cook for 30 sec. and add water. Start with around a cup of water and add more if you like your gravy thinner.
  7. Now add in the red chilli powder, garam masala and kasoori methi. For those of you who are not familiar with kasoori methi, it is a dried form of fenugreek leaves which are widely used in Indian cooking. It is flavourful and have medicinal properties associated with reducing body pains. For regular readers, I had started exploring food that helps chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia almost a year back, and methi is a good ayurvedic herb to help combat pain. The trick to using this herb is to slightly crush it between your palms before adding to the gravy. Doing this helps the herb ooze out the amazing aroma and makes the dish very flavourful.
  8. Let this boil on low flame.
  9. When it starts boiling add in the paneer pieces and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for another minute and then switch off the flame.

I usually prepare this and keep it covered for an hour or two before serving. This allows the aromas to blend it completely and also the paneer soaks in the spices.

Serve hot with naan bread.

Malai kofta

Malai Kofta is a rich indian recipe. It is frequently used as the main dish for dinner or lunch when there are guests at home. It is very delicious and can be paired with Naan or zeera rice. 


Preparation time: 1 hour

For koftas: (I usually make twice the amount of koftas, so that I can make more gravy later. So if you want to make koftas only for one time, then take half the amounts mentioned below)

6 medium sized potatoes – boiled and mashed
2-2.5 carrots – boiled and roughly mashed
1/2 cup of green peas – boiled and mashed
1.5 cups of shredded paneer
1 tsp of salt (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 to 2 tsp corn starch (mix one tsp in the beginning and if it is not enough to hold the mixture together, add more. There is no special taste that comes from corn starch and this is only used to bind the koftas together so that they don’t break when fried in oil)
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1-1.5 tbsp ground cashew nuts
1 finely chopped green chilli
finely chopped coriander (around 3-4 twigs)
Add all the above ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. Then make small balls or oval shapes using the mix (ensure that the balls are not very big. A good approximation is to use 1 tbsp for one kofta).  Deep fry the balls in vegetable oil (I always try the first one to make sure that the mixture has the right consistency and it is not breaking up in the oil. If it does break up, add a little more corn starch and try again until the balls do not break. Some people also roll the balls in dry corn starch before frying to avoid their breaking up). Keep the balls aside on tissue paper so that will give out any unnecessary oil.
For the gravy:
Chop one onion. Take some oil in a pan, and lightly fry these onions till they are light brown. Then add 1 tbsp of ginger, garlic paste. Fry slightly and then add 3 chopped tomatoes and let this mix become mushy over medium heat. Do not fry too much and leave some water in the mixture. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp chilli powder and around 2 tsp salt. (Be careful with the salt as the spoon measurements are not always standard. It is best to start with less salt as you can always add more salt to the curry if needed)
Then take this off from flame and let it cool down. Once cooled down, put this mix in a blender and made a fine paste out of it. Add 1 cup of water to this so that it could become a fine paste.
Now take a little oil in the pan. When the oil is hot, add 2 tsp of cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add in the blended mix of onions and tomatoes + 1/2 cup of finely ground cashew nuts + 1/2 cup of cream (do not use sour cream) + another 1 tsp of salt (Check the salt before adding this salt, so add according to taste as we already had salt in the gravy before and there is also salt in the balls, so take salt as per taste).
Finally add around 1.5 tsp of garam masala + 1.5 tsp of shahi paneer masala + shredded coriander (4 tbsp); and bring this mixture to a boil on low flame.
Before serving add the koftas to the gravy and sprinkle on top with 3/4 tsp of garam masala.