Methi Malai Matar or Green Peas in a Creamy Fenugreek Sauce

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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
Recipe from: Sharmi’s Passions

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
5 cashew nuts
2-3 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tsp Red Chilly Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tbsp oil (I use olive oil for cooking)
Salt, to taste

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, 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.

Enjoy!!!

If you’re looking for other methi / fenugreek recipes, check these out –
Methi Parathas
Methi Namakpare
Methi Poori

Mungode – Split moong (mung) bean fritters

I love snacking. Probably more than I love my meals. There, I said it! I think this is because I grew up in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. Mumbai is famous for its street food, which are mostly snacking options. Some light snacks and others can be more substantial and work well as meals in themselves. Its their easy availability and their reasonable prices that makes them so popular.

Since I am not in Mumbai anymore, you can only imagine how much I miss these delectable treats. So out of necessity and a healthy amount of curiosity, in the past couple of years, I’ve found myself looking out for Indian snack recipes to try out at home. Once you start looking it up, you will be amazed at how much variety there is out there. India is a big country with rich, cultural diversity and that is reflected in its food as well. This has worked very well for me, because it gives me an opportunity to try out heaps of different recipes, like this one. Mungode is a one such treat that I recently stumbled upon. Yes, it is another deep fried treat, like a lot of other Indian snacks, but its not like you’d indulge in this everyday. It is a simple recipe to follow with minimal prep work involved, just the kind of recipes I like. These little deep fried Moong dal (split and hulled mung bean) fritters are crunchy on the outside, full of flavor and are best served hot with some ketchup or your favorite Mint chutney.
Mungode
Recipe from: Swati’s Kitchen
Serves 3-4 as a snack

1 cup moong dal (Split and hulled mung beans)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
1-2 green/red birdseye chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Oil, for deep frying
Wash the moong dal and drain the water. Do this about 3-4 times.
Soak the dal in fresh, tepid water for about an hour.

Grind it to a coarse paste and empty into a mixing bowl.
Add the onion, ginger, green chillies, coriander and salt to the bowl with the dal and mix well.
Heat oil for deep frying. 
Drop in little portions of the batter. I used portions a little less than a teaspoonful. (You don’t want large fritters or it might not cook through.) Also, keep the fritters uniform sized so that they cook evenly.
Don’t overcrowd the pan and fry the fritters in batches.
Let the fritters fry till golden brown on medium heat. Drain using a slotted spoon.
Drain on some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil for a couple of minutes.  Repeat with any remaining batter. 
Serve hot with tomato ketchup or mint chutney and a nice hot cup of tea.
Enjoy!!!

Bombay Street Food Special #13 – Dal Vada

As a food blogger, someone who loves learning new things and basically a lover of good food, I have an ever-growing list of ‘Recipes to try’ and ‘food I’d love to learn how to make’. And that list grows like it has a life of its own. Just the other day, my husband, in all innocence asked me what I would do when I ran out of recipes to share on the blog. My response – I laughed. He thought I’d lost it. Then I showed him just a glimpse of these lists and he knew it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. 

Today’s recipe is one I’ve wanted to try even before I’d started any of these lists. You see, Dal Vadas are easily available street food in Bombay. These aren’t as popular as Idlis and Medhu Vadas (South Indian Food), but I’ve always had a soft corner for this treat. These deep fried dumplings are made from split and hulled chickpeas aka Chana Dal, easily found in any Indian grocery store in the aisle with the lentils. They are everything I love in a snack, small portion size, crispy on the outside and chock full of flavor. 
The recipe I tried is a little different from the commonly found Dal Vada. It is amped up with some Garam Masala (an Indian spice blend) and fennel seeds, which you typically don’t find in the Street Food variety, I must admit it adds a lot of flavor. You could skip the fennel for a more tradition version of the vada. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make. You could serve this with your favorite chutneys like this Green Mint Chutney (Pudiney ki chutney) and this Tamarind and Date Chutney (Imli ki chutney), or you could just serve it with some Tomato Ketchup. Or be like me, throw caution to the wind and serve it up with all three for a little variety. Whichever way you decide to go, I hope you try it out. 
Dal Vada
Adapted from: Swasthi’s Recipes
 
1 cup chana dal
Salt, to taste
1″ cinnamon
1-2 dried red chillies
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp fennel seeds 
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 sprigs curry leaves, roughly torn / chopped
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Oil, for deep frying
Wash the chana dal a couple of times and drain the water. 
Soak the dal in fresh water for an hour and a half. Make sure there is ample water in the bowl. after soaking drain the dal thoroughly using a colander.
Grind the cinnamon, red chillies, cumin and fennel to a coarse powder. 
Keep this aside along with 2 tbsp of the chana dal.
Grind the rest of the drained dal and salt by using the ‘Pulse’ function on your blender to grind it coarsely and transfer to a bowl. 
To the bowl, add the curry leaves, onion, coarsely ground spices, green chillies and the reserved dal and mix it all well. 
Heat the oil for deep frying. 
To shape the vadas, roll a golf ball size of the mix to a ball and flatten them. 
Deep fry on medium heat till golden brown on both sides. (Using high heat will just brown the outside and leave the inside uncooked, so be sure to fry it on a medium heat.)
Drain and place on some kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
Serve hot with either chutney or ketchup.
Enjoy hot with a steaming cup of tea !!!
Click here for some more Bombay Street Food options.