Today’s post takes me back about 16 years. Back to when I first started working (gosh I feel old now). Back then, our meals were taken care off by the work place. And for me that was novelty because growing up we almost never ate out. My mum would cook up every meal and snack for us at home and as kids we were content with that. But eating in the office cafeteria was interesting. Here, I was introduced to such a variety of food from different parts of the country (India). But I wasn’t too keen on cooking then. During those days I only enjoyed making our traditional Goan sweets (Kuswar) for Christmas and other Goan sweets that my Nana would whip up for us for afternoon tea or an after school snack.
One of the dishes I encountered in the office cafeteria, that eventually became a favorite, was Methi Malai Matar (meaning Grean Peas in a Creamy fenugreek gravy.) It has strong Indian flavors but is mildly spiced. After moving to Sydney, I began craving some of this stuff. And it was only then I decided I was going to have to learn to make this dish myself, much like I had to learn so many other Indian recipes that I wanted to enjoy. Now the challenge was finding fresh Fenugreek leaves. The only place I’ve found fresh leaves is at one vendor at the Paddy’s Market in Flemington. But that’s a long drive from us. So I thought I’d try and find a recipe that used dried leaves (known as Kasoori Methi) which is easily available at any Indian grocery store. And let me tell you, I found one. I couldn’t believe how easy this little curry is to put together. With just a handful of ingredients, in less than half an hour you can be sitting down to a warm bowl of Methi Malai Matar for dinner. This goes really well with roti / chapatis, but you can also enjoy this with some bread or plain rice.
Methi Malai Matar
1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen will both work, if using frozen let it thaw before using)
3 tbsp Kasoori Methi
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 green chilly, finely chopped (optional)
1 cup milk
8 cashew nuts
2-3 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
Soak the cashewnuts in a couple of tablespoons of milk for about 15 minutes.
Grind this to a smooth paste and keep aside.
In a pot / saucepan heat the oil on medium heat.
Add the cumin seeds to the oil.
When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies and saute for a minute.
Now, add the chopped onions and saute till they’ve slightly browned.
Add the cashew paste and fry it for a couple of minutes, stirring to avoid burning.
Now add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilly powder and the garam masala powder. Add salt to taste and stir well.
Now add the rest of the milk and stir.
Let it come to a boil and then simmer for about 2-3 minutes and the gravy will start thickening.
Add the cream and stir in.
Now add the green peas. Let the peas heat through and let the gravy come to a boil again.
Now add the kasoori methi and stir.
If the gravy is too thick at this stage, add a little water to achieve desired consistency. Just make sure the gravy comes to a boil after the water is added and simmer for a couple of minutes.
If the gravy is not thick enough, let it continue cooking, stirring occasionally, till it thickens to your liking.
Serve hot with rotis / chapatis.
If you need some Pakora / Bhajiya inspiration to serve alongside this kadhi and rice, here you go –
Potato and Onion Bhajias
Freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
Black Chana Fugad / Black Chana Sukkhe
Soak the dried chickpeas in water overnight (or about 8 hours). Make sure the water is about 2 inches over the chickpeas and use a large bowl because the chickpeas will expand in size.
Drain the water and rinse the chickpeas fresh water and drain again.
Place the chickpeas in the pressure cooker with the water level about 1 inch over the chickpeas. Add 1 tsp of salt and 2 whole dried red chillies (preferable Kashmiri chillies) and pressure cook till tender.
**Every pressure cooker is different so I can’t give you an accurate amount of time it will need to cook. I use a WMF pressure cooker and when the pressure builds to the gentle cooking pressure point, I turn it down to a simmer and leave it to cook for about 4 minutes. If you do not have a pressure cooker, just cook the chickpeas in ample amount of salted water till tender. Use your manufacturers instructions to gauge how long to pressure cook the chickpeas.
Release the pressure and after the pressure has completely died down, carefully open the cooker.
Drain the chickpeas and reserve about a cup of the stock.
To make the fugad –
Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat.
Add the mustard seeds and let them sputter.
Now add the curry leaves and crushed garlic cloves. (You just want the cloves bruised and popped open, you do not want to mince it or make a paste.)
Now add the onion and saute till soft and translucent.
Add the chilly, coriander, cumin, black pepper and turmeric powders and stir well.
Now add the chopped tomato and stir well. Cook this till the tomato has softened a little.
Add the drained chickpeas and stir well.
Add the tamarind paste gradually and to taste. (You may or may not need all of it, depending on the tartness of the tomato you have used.)
Add a couple of tablespoons of the stock and let it all cook down for a minute or so.
Check for salt and add more, if needed.
Add the grated coconut and stir well. If you want more gravy you could add a little more stock.
We usually have this dish on the dry side, so we let the stock cook down completely.
Once the coconut has cooked for a couple of minutes, take off the heat and serve hot.
This dish goes beautifully with chapatis or rotis.
Eventually I gave in to his requests and decided to try something different, something that essential had chana dal and spinach but was nothing like the original version. The resulting chana dal with spinach is really good. It packs a good amount of flavour and textures and has worked its way into my heart and my dinner rotation.
It is a simple dish and you can choose to serve it with some rotis / chapatis or as a side to your favourite meat dish.
Chana Dal with Spinach
125g Chana dal
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 green chillies, finely chopped (You can use just one if you’d like)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 fresh curry leaves
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped (You can also use baby spinach)
Salt, to taste
Wash the chana dal a couple of times in water and drain.
Soak the chana dal for about an hour. Drain the water.
Boil the chana dal in some fresh water (about 3 cups) and a tsp of salt. After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Cook the dal till it has softened but still has some bite to it. You DO NOT want a mush.
Drain and reserve some of the liquids.
Heat the ghee in a large pan over medium high heat.
Add the curry leaves, garlic and cumin.
Once the cumin sputters, add the ginger, chilli and turmeric and stir to mix well.
Once the spices have turned fragrant and have mixed well (should take about a minute or so).
Add the chopped tomato and stir. Cook for a couple of minutes, till the tomato softens and breaks down a little.
Add the chopped spinach / baby spinach and stir it into the spices till it has just wilted.
Add the drained chana dal and stir through. You can add a tablespoon or 2 of the reserved liquid, if you think it is too dry.
You want the liquid to all mostly dry up. Add it one tbsp at a time. You just want enough liquid to help warm the dal through without burning. You may not need any of the liquid at all.
Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed.
Watch the recipe video here –
This recipe has quickly become one of my absolute favorites. Its a funny story,until a couple of months ago, I didn’t really care much for Zucchini. They aren’t easily available in Mumbai but I’d had it as a side dish at a couple of restaurants and every single time, I personally found it revolting. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about in blogland. I saw so many blog posts with so many absolutely delicious recipes, I figured it was just me, something I didn’t like and was going to have to live with it. Again, this was hard for me to understand, because there aren’t too many things that I don’t like. Anyway, life went on. And then when I moved to Sydney, my aunt invited us to spend the day with them at their place in Woy Woy. At dinner, one of the sides that my uncle whipped up was a simple veg. stir fry, which had zucchini in it and you know what, I loved it, much to my surprise. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a one off thing, so I decided to try my hand at cooking it myself.
After a few minutes online, I had found a recipe I knew would be nice. I bought some zucchini from my favorite Paddy’s market (Haymarket). I had the rest of the ingredients on hand. This recipe is fairly quick to put together, apart from hand grating the zucchini. If you have a food processor that can do the job for you, go for it. Nothing like saving time and effort. Its simple and quick to put the batter together and then all you do is fry it up. Within a short while, you will be sitting down to some pretty amazing fritters. My husband and I love these little guys so much, I’ve made them thrice already. And trust me, I can see myself making these fritters many more times to come. Try it out for yourself and see how good these are.
2 medium zucchini
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 chilly, finely chopped
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup grated cheese
2 tbsp. fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup of bread crumbs, approx
2-4 tbsp olive oil
Grate the zucchini coarsely. Sprinkle a little salt (about 1/4 tsp.) over it and let it stand for about 10 minutes. The salt will draw out all the excess liquid. Place in a colander and squeeze to drain out as much excess liquid as possible.
Place the grated zucchini in a bowl. Add the onion, chilly, flour, cheese, salt, coriander, oregano and bread crumbs. Whisk the egg and add to the batter. Mix all the ingredients together. If the batter is to wet, add a tbsp or 2 of bread crumbs.
Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Place spoonfuls of the batter onto the pan and using the back of the spoon, flatten it out a bit and shape into fritters. Fry on medium heat till it turns golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side till it turns golden brown too.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.
Yummy, yummy, yummy!
** I have tried this recipe using cream cheese as well as grated cheese and both times, it was delicious. Feel free to experiment with your favorite cheese.
This recipe has been shared at –
Show Me Your Plaid
Full Plate Thursday
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green chilly, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 garlic peels, finely chopped
1 tbsp veg. oil
1 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 cup rice
1/4 cup split lentils (I use whatever I have on hand usually moong or masoor dal. This time I used a combination of both)
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and tender stems, chopped
Salt, to taste
Wash the rice and the lentils together and let them soak for 10-15 minutes. You can start prepping the rest of the ingredients in the meanwhile.
Heat the oil in a pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds and let them sputter, taking care not to burn them.
Add the chilly and the onion and saute till the onions are soft and pinkish brown.
Tip in the turmeric powder and stir till well mixed.
Drain the rice and lentils that have been soaking and add them to the cooker. Stir gently to mix everything.
Add salt to taste and 4 cups of water.
Stir gently. Cover the pressure cooker and add the stopper.
Cook on high flame. After the first whistle, cook on low flame for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the pressure drop on its own.
Once the cooker can be opened, add the chopped coriander and stir to mix.
Prepare the tempering. In another small frying pan, place the ghee and the chopped garlic. Let it saute gently on low fire till it turns fragrant. Don’t burn the garlic as you’ll lose all the flavor. Add this ghee and the garlic to the cooked rice and stir to incorporate.
Serve pipping hot.
2 bay leaves
1-2″ cinnamon sticks
2 pods green cardamom
6 black peppercorns
1/2 large or 1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 cup long grained rice
2 cups water
1/4- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
A handful of green peas
Salt, to taste
If you’re using frozen peas, keep them out to thaw for a while.
Wash the rice and leave it to soak in some water for about 15-20 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
Heat the oil mildly in a vessel and add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns and let them warm up and infuse the oil with their aromas and flavors, taking care not to burn the spices.
Add the chopped onion and saute till the onions and soft and translucent and start taking on a little colour.
Add the turmeric powder and stir well.
Drain the water that the rice was soaking in and tip the rice into the vessel.
Stir gently making sure you don’t break the grains down while stirring.
Once the rice is well coated with the spices in the pan, add the water, salt to taste and the green peas.
Cover and let it cook on a low flame, till all the water has been absorbed.
Fluff up the rice using a fork and not a spoon so that you don’t mash the grains.
Serve hot with your favourite curry.
Please remember that if you’d like to change the quantity of rice used, the rice to water ratio should always be 1:2. That is 1 measure of rice to 2 measures of water to cook it in.
Check out the post on the Chicken Frankie for the naan roti recipe and instructions on how to assemble the frankie.
Aloo Cheese Frankies
For the Aloo Cheese filling –
2 potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
Salt, to taste
1/8 tsp chilly powder
A pinch of cumin powder
A pinch of turmeric powder
A pinch of amchur powder (dried mango powder)
Mix all the ingredients well. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
Here are the details on the recipe for the roti and the frankie assembly.
UPDATE: One thing I’ll probably try out the next time I make this, is I’ll make a long sausage of the mashed potato filling and lightly fry it off on a pan and then use it in the roll. I would love to see how that works out.