Malai methi matar

Malai methi matar (creamy fenugreek leaves and pea curry), one of the most popular North Indian restaurant dish, which is common in every restaurant and liked by all. The combination of methi leaves (fenugreek leaves) and matar (peas) with malai (cream) goes well and tastes wonderful. The bitterness of the methi leaves is well balanced and obscured by the rich creamy sauce. In most of the restaurants, I have found malai methi matar to be in white and pale light green sauce. So, I have tried to keep the colour pale light green but with my way of cooking to bring out the fragrant and wonderful taste. Malai methi matar is a creamy, mild dish which goes well with roti or naan and cumin fried rice. I have prepared malai methi matar in quite a different way - instead of adding all the spices in one go, I have added them at different times. So, to prepare this dish as I have written in the recipe, you need time and patience. This dish has to be cooked on a medium to low flame, stirring in between, to get a smooth and flavourful sauce. Prepare this malai methi matar as per my way and enjoy with the family.

Preparation time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 45 mins

Cuisine: North Indian

Serves: 2 to 3

Spiciness: Mild

Ingredients

    For sautéing Methi leaves

  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Methi leaves – 63 gms or 1 1/2 cups
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • For onion paste

  • Onion – 2 (200 gms)
  • Water – 3 cups or as required
  • Cloves – 6
  • Green cardamom – 6
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 1/2 inch
  • Cashew nut paste

  • Cashew nuts – 10
  • Milk – 50 ml
  • For curry

  • Oil – 2 tsp
  • Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Bay leaves - 2 to 3
  • Ginger (chopped) – 1 tsp
  • Cashews (chopped) – 5
  • Water – 2 cups (or as required)
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Amchur – 2 1/2 to 3 tsp
  • Black pepper powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1 tsp
  • Frozen peas - 1 cup
  • Cream – 1/2 cup or 100 ml
  • Kasoori methi or dry fenugreek leaves – 1 1/2 tbsp

Method

    Cashew nut paste

  • Soak the cashew nuts in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Add milk and cashew nuts in a mixer and grind to a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
  • Or

  • While boiling onion with spices, you can add cashew nuts to soften and then remove separately and grind to a smooth paste.
  • Onion paste

  • Boil onions with required amount of water, add all the whole spices and boil for 12 to 15 minutes on a medium flame.
  • Strain the onions. Keep the onion water and use while making the curry.
  • Remove the whole spices as I did or add all the whole spices with cooked onion in a mixer or blender. Grind to a fine paste.
  • Sautéing Methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)

  • Chop Methi leaves after cleaning well in water and keep it aside.
  • Heat a vessel with oil and butter. When warm, add cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add Methi leaves and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes or until the moisture is absorbed well. It should be lightly fried but not fully fried and crispy. As the Methi leaves are cooking, you can feel the aroma and flavour of Methi leaves already liberated. Keep it aside.
  • For the curry

  • Heat the same vessel in which Methi leaves were sautéd or another vessel. When warm, add oil and butter. Add bay leaves and chopped cashew nuts. When it is light golden colour, add ginger and let it sizzle for about 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Add onion paste and sauté for 3 minutes on a medium flame. Keep stirring.
  • Add ginger and garlic paste, sauté for 30 seconds. Add 100 ml of water or 1/2 cup, mix well and cook for 5 minutes on a medium flame. You can see the picture, near the corners it starts leaving oil lightly.
  • Add 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp amchur (mango powder), 1 tsp roasted cumin powder, 1 tsp black pepper powder (freshly ground), garam masala 1/2 tsp and water 50 ml or 1/3 cup, mix well. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes on a medium and low flame in between until the rawness of spices are gone.
  • Add cashew nuts paste and 1/2 cup water again to loosen, with 1 tsp amchur (mango powder), 1/2 tsp black pepper powder, 1 tsp sugar and 2 tbsp butter. Cook for a few minutes on a low flame with the lid closed until it starts leaving oil. Keep stirring in between.
  • Add peas and methi leaves, mix well. Add 1/2 cup water again and cook for 3 minutes on a medium flame. Keep stirring in between. Add water in between to loosen the sauce as and when it gets too thick while cooking.
  • Add 1/3 cup or 50 ml of cream and mix well. Add 1/2 tsp amchur (mango powder), 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1 1/2 tbsp kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and mix well.
  • Simmer the flame, close the lid and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. In between keep stirring. You can see, the sauce starts leaving oil on top and the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  • In the end drizzle again cream 3tbsp, amchur 1/2tsp and kasoori methi 1tsp (optional) cook for 3minutes on low flame and serve or let it rest by closing the lid.
  • Serve hot with any Naan or kulcha.
  • I have served malai methi matar with roti, jeera rice, simple dal, dal makhani and other side dishes to make a North Indian Thali (Punjabi Thali).

Notes

  • After adding the spices, always taste and add more spice if needed, as everyone's taste differ.
  • I have added water in between to loosen the texture of the sauce. You can also do so if needed.
  • I have used both fresh and dry fenugreek leaves. Add green peas as per the quantity of the sauce.
  • I have used frozen peas, which need less cooking time. If you are using fresh peas, parboil the peas before adding to the sauce.
  • I have used butter, oil (vegetable or sunflower) and single cream to make the sauce smooth and silky.
  • Always crush or rub kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) in between your two palms and then add to the sauce (curry).

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