Friday, November 9, 2012

Methi Mutter malai - Punjabi fare contd

So I left you all with a little teaser on my makki roti side dish in my previous post, as I promised it is not the usual suspect. I didn't make the sarson ka saag with my makki roti but made another very Punjabi side dish for the roti with my favorite greens. So why is this so special? Some fresh green methi leaves, a bowl of green peas, definitely some badam/almonds and a cup of malai. Well for now assume it is malai or cream and i will show you how to create the same creamy richness by making some tweaks.

Gather some fresh, tender methi/fenugreek leaves and a bowl of green peas, you are almost halfway done to making a delicious methi mutter malai. Almonds/Badam is so quintessentially Punjabi for me, to prove the point - remember the scene in DDLJ where Ma tells the cutesy younger chutki to eat her badam every day without fail so she is healthy, smart, brainy and beautiful. Though born & brought up in the Southern part of India and much removed from Punjab ki Mitti, I love almonds for the healthy nutrition and use them quite liberally in my cooking for adding thickness, for bringing creamy-ness, for taste & texture. So go ahead and soak a handful of almonds to lend the creamy texture to the gravy.

Now onto the third part in the name of the dish, Malai. Here is where I beg to differ from the traditional cooking. Malai or cream is nothing but boiled/thickened whole milk or in other words it is tightly packed milk fat. While there is nothing wrong in indulging in cream/malai once in a while, I do not belong to the school of cooking where everything starts with butter or cream. I do enjoy them in recipes where using something different would compromise the taste, so to cut my long rant short, I used 2% reduced milk in my gravy.
Last crop for the year in my backyard
Methi mutter malai is not a spicy dish, but its mild flavor and milky finish allows it to accompany any kind of rotis. I haven't actually seen this on resturant menus here though I have had it in the road side dhabhas in India.
Fresh picked methi leaves
What do you need to make Methi Mutter Malai?
Serves about 4 people
2 packed cups of fresh chopped methi leaves
1.5 cups green peas - fresh or frozen
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tblsp oil
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp finely grated ginger
To grind:
10-15 blanched almonds
2 Tblsp chopped onion
3 cloves
2 - 2 inches long cinnamon sticks
2 green chilies (adjust to taste)

How do you make Methi mutter malai?
  • Soak almonds in hot water for 30-45 minutes and peel the skin off.
  • Grind all ingredients listed below 'To grind' into a very fine paste by adding 1/2 cup of water. 
  • Heat oil in a big pan/kadai, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. 
  • Add the ground paste, salt and milk and bring it to a boil. 
  • Add the chopped methi leaves and mutter, reduce heat to low, cover the pan and let cook for about 25-30 minutes with occasional stirring to prevent burning.
  • Add the grated ginger towards the end of cooking time and mix it in. 
  • At the end of the cook time, milk would have thickened, methi & mutter would have cooked soft.
  • Switch off, serve warm with hot makki rotis for a delicious meal. 
  • I start with milk and let the methi & mutter cook in milk so the flavors are completely absorbed and milk turns thick & creamy.
  • If using frozen green peas thaw them to room temperature, if using fresh green peas parboil them in hot water for about 5-7 minutes.
  • I add grated ginger towards the end to retain the fresh gingery smell in the curry as this does gravy not have any other overpowering spices. 
  • Grind the masala into a really smooth paste which helps the curry become creamier. 
  • You can follow the authentic way of making this by replacing milk with 2 Tblsp of heavy cream and add the cream after methi & mutter are cooked.. 
  • It is important to cook on low heat so that the leaves cook completely, raw onion smell goes away and milk turns thicker. 


Kaveri Venkatesh said... of my favorites Nagashree...Love your version

NamsVeni Pothas said...

this dish is very tasty and healthy. it goes with Roti and rice also. typical winter food.

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

very healthy n tasty too...
Today's Recipe - EGGLESS PANCAKE

Vidya said...

Healthy curry...looks delicious.

Priya said...

Very creamy and healthy dish, love simply with rotis.