Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eat your greens - Menthya soppina bhath (methi leaves rice)

I love greens and usually end up bringing home atleast 2 varieties of greens with every round of grocery shopping I do, honestly there are so many different ways you can cook greens and it is easy to incorporate the nutrients in every day meal. I am sure I can cook greens for more than a week without repeating a preparation, will keep the counting to another day :-). Though I like all types of greens, menthya soppu/methi leaves/fenugreek leaves have a special place in my heart, just because they are so naturally flavorful. This is one of things that vanish very quickly from the Indian grocery store isles every week on the 'fresh veggie day', I know there are lot methi fanatics just like me out there. Methi is very easy to grow even in pots and that is exactly what I do from time to time to beat the crowd :-).

Menthya soppina bhath (methi leaves rice) is a one pot dish, very easy to prepare and needs only the usual suspects you will have in your kitchen. Bhath is a generic term used in Kannada for various rice preparations such as Vangi bhath, bisi bele bhath, vegetable bhath etc, they have some common and some unique spices in each and the proportion and preparations turns each one quite distinct from the other. Nammamma is an expert 'Bhath' cook, she has a trick up her sleeve for most preparations of this genre which I am going to share with you today :-). Again, this recipe is very flexible and forgiving, so you can add/delete some of the ingredients based on availability and your taste, I will show you how in the variations.

What do you need to make Menthya soppina bhath?
1 big bunch of methi leaves - pick the leaves, wash them thoroughly and chop finely
1 cup cooked white rice - make rice in your usual method insuring that the grains are well cooked but separate
Juice of a small lime sized tamarind soaked for 20 mins in warm water or 1 Tsp of tamarind paste
2 Tblsp Vangibhath powder (I used MTR brand, will post my home made powder soon)
2 Tblsp salt (adjust to taste)
2 medium sized potatoes boiled to hold shape and cut into bite sized pieces
1 Tsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 Tblsp fresh/frozen grated coconut
1/2 Tsp crushed jaggery/brown sugar
1 Tsp cooking oil
1/2 Tsp turmeric powder
Fresh Methi leaves picked and washed

Ingredients for Vaggarane/seasoning:
1 Tblsp cooking oil
1 Tsp mustard seeds
1 Tsp urad dal/uddina bele
1 Tsp chana dal/kadle bele
2 Tsp raw peanuts
1 pinch asefoetida

How do you make Menthya Soppina bhath?

  • Heat 1 Tsp oil in a pan, add the finely chopped methi leaves and let them wilt for a few minutes stirring once in a while, keep the pan on medium heat
  • Once the methi leaves are cooked, add salt, vangibhath powder, turmeric powder, tamarind paste or tamarind juice, jaggery/brown sugar and keep stirring for a few minutes until any water content is absorbed and it becomes a semi solid paste.
  • Add the coconut gratings and give it a stir.
  • Spread the cooked rice in a wide bowl/plate and pour the methi paste on top of it.
  • Toast the cooked, cut potato pieces in the same pan until they crisp up a little and keep it aside. 
  • When the rice is cool, mix it together by hand so the grains are well coated by the paste, taste and adjust salt/jaggery. 
  • Add potato pieces and mix lightly.
  • Prepare vaggarane or seasoning: Heat the oil, add asafoetida, mustard seeds, dals and peanuts and stir it until mustard crackles and peanuts are done. Pour it on top of the rice and mix it well. 
  • Add the ghee and mix the rice once more and keep it aside for atleast 30 minutes to settle in before serving. **
  • A faintly sweet, spicy and methi flavored bhath is ready to eat, you can serve it with a yogurt based raita or roasted papads.
Cooked methi leaves with the masala
Menthya soppina bhath ready with Vaggarane

NOTE: Adding the ghee and leaving the bhath for a 'settling time' enhances the taste greatly, but I assure you that impatient ones will not be disappointed if they were to taste it right off the the stove like BH does at our home :-)

  • You can omit potatoes, use green peas - if using frozen, defrost and fry them along with the methi leaves. If using dry peas, soak overnight and boil them till tender. 
  • You can add 1 Tsp grated ginger while frying methi leaves to get a slightly 'gingerish' flavor
  • You can use dry coconut (kobbari) gratings instead of fresh coconut for a nuttier flavor.
  • Cook rice with a 1:2 (rice:water) ratio to get fluffy rice, add a few drops of cooking oil to keep the grains separate. 
  • Let the rice cool down before mixing the paste to get the  right texture.
  • Pouring hot methi paste on top of steaming rice gets the juices to flow into the rice and make it flavor rich. 
  • You can choose to omit the ghee if you are health conscious, I put it only when I have company.


cmalalur said...

Roasted urad dal papad or am-bo-dey would go really well with this i guess! :)
as usual mouth watering pics and superb recipe!

Nagashree said...

Hmm.. Ambode sounds sooo good right now :-), been a long time since I made, so keep watching the blog. Thanks for the comment.

NamsVeni Pothas said...

very nice rice dish. healthy and easy to digest also.

Kadhyaa said...

First time here and a very nice space . this rice is my all time favourite thanks for sharing the recipe

Nagashree said...

Thanks for visiting, we like menthya soppina anna very much, try out my recipe and let me know how it turns out.