“Methi” (fenugreek) masala is one of the most versatile gravies ever. Healthy and delicious, methi masala consists of fresh fenugreek, cilantro, green chilies, garlic and tomatoes. You can even add Indian cottage cheese (“paneer”), potatoes, or fish to this gravy. One gravy and three options! Perfect!
Fenugreek is best prepared with care. Be sure to wash the leaves in cold water repeatedly to make sure you remove all the sand. Also be sure to cook the leaves really well as that will eliminate their otherwise bitter taste. I learnt this the hard way when I first attempted this recipe as part of a big meal for a party.
Long story short – the rest of the dinner turned out great! (Sand from the fenugreek ruined the paneer methi masala – imagine the appetite-destroying sound of crunchy sand!). I realized my mistake at my first horrific bite and off the dish went from my dining table!
As I said earlier, make sure the fenugreek’s washed – at least a couple of times.
Fenugreek masala is very popular in my home. I often prepare and freeze the gravy in advance. Then, depending on what I have on hand or feel like eating add the fish or potatoes, or paneer.
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped or freshly grated (I use a microplane zester)
- 1 inch ginger finely chopped or grated
- 2 green chillies, finely chopped (if you want it less spicy, slit the chillies in half and remove the seeds)
- 1 cup cilantro cleaned, washed and finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves cleaned, washed and finely chopped (pick just the leaves)
- 2 medium sized tomatoes chopped fine
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder(dhaniya)
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric (haldi)
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh cat fish (can also use tilapia)
- salt to taste.
- Heat oil in a vessel. Add garlic and ginger and chillies. Fry this for a minute. Add the fenugreek and cilantro and fry this for 10-12 minutes on medium high. I like to add a little salt at this time as it helps it to release water.
- Then add the tomatoes and let this cook well for another 10 minutes till the oil starts to separate.
- Add the coriander powder, turmeric and salt to taste. Then add hot water.
- Gently put the fish in and cook for 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.
- Serve hot with rice or Indian bread”chappati”.
- It is important to wash the cilantro and fresh fenugreek leaves well. I take a big vessel, add water to it and throw in the cilantro. Place the bowl under a tap of cold water and gently run your fingers through the cilantro. The cilantro floats on top and the sand accumulates at the bottom of the vessel. Do this 2 -3 times to make sure it is perfectly cleaned.
- Do the same with fresh fenugreek leaves.
- With potatoes: Cooking time will vary if using this gravy for potatoes. Once you make the gravy, peel and cube the potatoes, throw it in and cover on low heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. The gravy gets thick from all the starch in the potatoes. It’s delicious!
- With paneer: After the gravy is cooked, just add the paneer and keep on low flame for 5 minutes. Ready to serve.