Saturday, October 31, 2015

Methi Aur Papad ki sabzi (*translation*) Fenugreek and Papad curry :-)

Dasara came and went by, Deepavali is just around the corner and I am way behind with my recipe posting :-). Much as I love blogging, I love the rest of my life too and sometimes things, events happening outside the context of the blog take over and doesn't let me come here as often as I would wish for. And then there is my old, old buddy called laziness which makes up excuses to not sit and write on the blog. This buddy is very powerful and has at his command another spoiler named 'blogger's block' and when it makes it way towards me, I am just a helpless lump not able to type two straight coherent words on my laptop. It is very similar to dementors from the Potter world that seem to suck away all my energy. The gloomy, breezy, cold weather doesn't make it any easier to get to work on the recipes either.
I hope you understand how many obstacles I have to overcome to get that wonderful dish that stole our hearts and satiated the tummy make its way to this blog and into your kitchens. But, be assured I am working on my will power which is the worst enemy of laziness and can even overcome the blogger's block. The current status is that my will power is in the process of growing up :-). So a little patience and wait is all that is needed. Why all that talk about dementors, and Harry Potter, you ask? Well, turn around (or wherever you have a calendar close to you) and check todays' date. Yep, Happy Halloween everybody, whether you go trick or treating or not, whether you get donned in a costume or not, this is the time to work with those huge, orange pumpkins. If you are (like me) not artistic enough to carve a jack-O-lantern, then make a spicy pumpkin soup and enjoy :-) with a side of good candies. Make them dark chocolate and you are all set.

I hope I haven't told you this joke before on the blog, even if I have it is ok to hear it for a second time. The chances are if I don't remember if I blogged about this before, you certainly won't remember having read it on the blog. So here it is - one of my bachelor colleagues a few years ago (when we were all much younger and new to the country and brand new to Halloween celebrations) opened the door of his apartment when the bell rang in the evening to find a little kid with a bag of candies. Obviously the kid was there to ask for candies but this culture agnostic friend of mine, dipped his hands into the open bag , took a handful of candies, said thanks and closed the door. We never got to know how irreparably he scarred the kid about Halloween but the next day when he innocently was sharing how a kid in his neighborhood brought him candies, some of us with a bit more awareness had to explain to him what he had done. So if this is your first Halloween, remember it is the adults that give out the treats and not vice versa :-).

Since mine is a vegetarian blog, I thought of wishing you all a happy Halloween with these really cute vegan witches, have a great evening :-)
Well, now the fact of Halloween is established, let us move on to more earthly matters, shall we? Ask me what I ate for dinner yesterday? Go on, and humor me, I promise it is worth it. Ok, assuming you asked the question, here is my answer - A bowl of yummy fenugreek seeds :-). Are you wondering if this is Halloween related and if you missed a memo, let me clear the air. What I ate on the eve of Halloween has nothing to do with Halloween itself though a bowl of fenugreek may sound somewhat like a ghoulish treat to enjoy.

If you haven't tasted this (I hadn't before I made it yesterday), making a subzi with fenugreek seeds may sound like a recipe to avoid. Indian cooking uses fenugreek seeds liberally, but they are mostly in quantities of Tsp at a time and as part of seasoning. The first time I stumbled on this recipe, I just flipped through the channel (Yep, it was on a You tube channel) ignoring it completely. Then again I love the bitterness of Methi/fenugreek and the flavor it imparts when roasted. Fresh green methi is my all time favorite too. So I went back to check the recipe. Since internet and the search engines are so smart and catch on to what your interests are based on your clicks, I got a couple other links to follow up on the same recipe. That is how I landed on the master chef's blog describing this succulent, delicious side dish. I had to give it a try after such a powerful endorsement, don't you agree?
So methi-papad sabzi (fenugreek seeds and lentil wafers side dish) is apparently a common preparation in Gujarat  and Rajasthan. The exact ingredients vary a little, yes as you can guess the Gujarati preparation will have a strong taste of jaggery that sweetens up the dish compared to its Rajasthani preparation. I stayed the middle course with a little bit of jaggery and the soaked and boiled fenugreek was a treat to eat as were the soft, soggy papad pieces in the subzi. Since this was my first time trying the dish, I made a simple cabbage stir fry which both BH and I love as my insurance incase the subzi was inedible but at the end of the dinner, the subzi pot was clean while cabbage sat there hardly touched :-). Such a successful experiment definitely is worth sharing on the blog, though the pictures aren't of great quality I decided to jump in with this one today. I will update them when I make the recipe again (soon).
Before we go onto the recipe, quick update on where I have been (other than the above stated reasons) - went to visit DD for a a quick weekend, time differences, overnight travel and an already hectic work week left us really tired but extremely contented to be able to hug the little one after 2 solid months. For her part, she checked in with us to the hotel room for the weekend and was happy to devour the gulab jamoons and other goodies we had carried with us. She has settled in, misses us and home but has made friends and is enjoying her classes and other activities. Looking forward to having her home in another 4 weeks or so :-)

Back to the recipe, this is a really simple one to make as long as you remember to soak the fenugreek seeds overnight. Once the soaking part is taken care of, the rest of the process is a breeze.

What do you need to make methi-papad subzi?
1/2 cup fenugreek seeds/methi dana
2-3 regular size papads**
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1-2 pieces of 1 inch cinnamon
1/2 Tsp mustard seeds
1/4 Tsp cumin seeds
1/8 Tsp asafoetida
2 green chilies, finely chopped (deseed them if you prefer mild)
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 Tsp red chili powder
1/2 Tsp coriander seeds powder
1/2 Tsp tamarind paste or about 10 kokum pieces
small piece (1/2 Tsp) of jaggery
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
How do you make Methi-papad subzi? 
  • Wash fenugreek seeds in water and soak them in atleast 2 times volume of water overnight. 
  • Drain all the water and pour the seeds into a sauce pan. Add 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring it to a rolling boil. 
  • Switch off and keep aside. 
  • Heat oil in a pan, add cinnamon, mustard, cumin seeds and let them crackle. 
  • Add chopped green chilies, asafoetida and onion and saute for a couple of minutes until onion is soft. 
  • Drain the water from the cooked fenugreek, reserve the water and pour the cooked seeds into the pan with onion. 
  • Roast them for a minute and half, add red chili powder, coriander powder and salt and mix well. 
  • Add the reserved water, jaggery, half of chopped cilantro and kokum pieces. If you are using tamarind paste instead add it at this time. 
  • Let kokum soften and give out tartness, it will take about 8-10 minutes of boiling on medium heat. 
  • If the water starts to evaporate, add another half cup. 
  • Taste test and adjust red chili powder, salt or jaggery to taste. 
  • Tear or break the papad (yes they are not roasted or fried) into pieces, keep them atleast 2X2 inches in dimension so they don't dissolve. 
  • Let cook for 2 minutes, switch off and add the remaining cilantro on top. 
  • Let it stand for 10 minutes and serve topped with crunchy, fried papads crushed. 
** Papads are traditional Indian lentil wafers that are usually circular and sun dried. You get different varieties of it in Indian grocery stores. I used my moong dal papad which was in stock but any papad would work too. The texture of cooked papad is that of thin pasta. 

  • I started with kokum pieces alone but as it was not tart enough used a small bit of tamarind paste. Adjust the sourness to taste as this helps mellow down the bitterness of fenugreek also. 
  • Be stingy with salt in this recipe since all papads have a load of salt in them already. If you want to add extra salt, hold until the end and papads have been added. 
  • Jaggery is your preference, increase or decrease as you like. 
  • You can use a chopped tomato in addition to onion, adjust kokum or tamarind quantity if the tomatoes are sour too.
  • Adjust the consistency of the dish based on usage and your preference, mine was moist and semi solid with not much of water. It was great to pick it up with rotis and eat. 

1 comment:

NamsVeni Pothas said...

happy Halloween to Sattvaa readers . wonderful and healthy recipe. completely a very new one for us. congrats Sattva for such a wonderful recipe.