Wishing all my reader’s a Happy and prosperous New Year! Hope everyone had a fabulous and fun filled day 🙂
I’d like to share yet another of my favorite North Indian dishes- Methi matar malai, with the addition of paneer here. Like most North Indian dishes this one doesn’t fall short of all the rich ingredients as well. Loads of cream is what makes this dish so rich, but the interesting part is the use of fenugreek leaves. It’s such a well balanced dish despite all it’s glorious, nutty richness. The fenugreek leaves add a distinct bitterness yet palatable flavor, one that is truly addictive and makes this dish so unique. Then there is the sweetness from the green peas which also makes for a great textural element in this ultra creamy dish! The addition of mava/khoya makes it even more luxurious.
I simply adore the North Indian white gravy any day over it’s red counterpart. It’s sweet and very mildly spiced. I love the red gravy too, but If I had to pick then I’d definitely choose the former. Since it is so rich, I make this dish very rarely. Yes you can definitely make a low calorie version, by omitting the cream, the mava/khoya, butter and the nuts. But what’s the fun in that, right? So I rather make it once in a blue moon and enjoy it 🙂
Unfortunately we do not get fresh fenugreek leaves here, so we grow our own. But it takes a good 4 weeks to harvest the fenugreek. So yes we have to wait that long to enjoy a fenugreek dish 🙁 I made this methi matar malai paneer using our very own home grown methi, and that makes it even more special 🙂 We love gardening , but space constraints in an apartment restrict how much we can plant. We still have a few plants, like banana plant, ichiban eggplants, thai chillies, curry leaves, lemongrass, basil, mint and a few other herbs.
So when I made this dish I had to share it here on the blog, coz it’s going to be a while the next time I make this. Sometimes when I feel like having this dish, and I don’t have fenugreek, I simply substitute it with frozen spinach and add extra kasoori methi ( dried fengreek leaves). You may also use only dried fenugreek leaves, just rehydrate them in water for 15-30 minutes and add it at the same time you would add the fresh ones.
This is pretty similar to the malai kofta I’ve shared earlier 🙂 Here’s how I like to make it!
Ingredients: Measuring cup used, 1 Cup = 250 ml
2 cup fresh fenugreek leaves, cleaned, washed and chopped finely.
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed in warm water for 5-10 minutes
200 grams paneer, cut into desired size pieces
1 large yellow onion/ 2-3 small onions
2-3 green chillies , I just used 1 jalapeno
10 cashew nuts
1 tablespoon poppy seeds ( khus khus)
2 tablespoons milk-mava powder / khoya
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon freshly crushed ginger garlic paste ( 3 garlic cloves and 1/2 inch ginger)
1/4 cup milk
1 cup cream ( I used heavy whipping cream, you may use fresh malai)
1/8 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon dry roasted and crushed kasoori methi
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
1.Heat water in a pot, once it comes to a boil, add roughly chopped onions, cashew nuts. Let it boil until they both are tender, will take about 2-3 minutes. Switch of the heat, drain the onions and cashew nuts in a colander. Let it cool down.
2. Make a fine paste of the boiled onions, cashewnuts, poppy seeds, green chillies in a blender. The onions have enough moisture, so there is no need to add any water. Add minimal water if required.
3.Shallow fry the paneer pieces and immerse them in warm water until ready to use.
4.In a heavy bottomed pan, heat butter and oil. Add cumin seeds. Once cumin seeds crackle, add in the coarsely crushed ginger garlic paste. Saute until fragrant on medium heat.
5.Now add the prepared onion paste, saute for another 2 -3 minutes.
6.Add mava and continue sauteing until the onion-mava paste starts leaving oil from the sides of the pan. Do not brown the paste.
7. Add in chopped methi leaves ( Refer notes to reduce bitterness), saute until the leaves wilt, for another 2-3 minutes.
8. Now add green peas, salt , sugar, garam masala and milk. Mix well and cook this mixture for another 2-3 minutes.
9.Add fried paneer pieces, and cook for another 2 minutes.
10. Finally add the cream, crushed kasoori methi and cardamom powder. Mix well, and let it simmer for 2 more minutes. Switch off the heat, and serve with naan/paratha/kulcha/chapati or any other flat bread.
- Ideally only cream is used in this dish, so you can skip the cream completely and add only milk for a low cal version or use half and half. You can add yogurt for a low cal version, but it will change the flavor profile of this dish.
- I love the bitterness of fenugreek leaves. However if you don’t like it, then after chopping the fenugreek leaves, add little salt, mix it well, leave it for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes squeeze the leaves well to get rid of the bitter juices. Rinse and use as directed in the recipe.
- You can add ginger and garlic directly whilst grinding the onion paste. But I love sauteing the freshly crushed ginger garlic in butter, it adds a lovely aroma and flavor.
- Since I use home made garam masala, it is slightly strong, so I use less. You may use about 1/4 teaspoon if using store bought garam masala. Do not add too much as it will overpower the dish.
- If using fresh green peas, boil them before adding to the gravy.
- Simply skip paneer, and serve it as methi matar malai.
You may also like Paneer malai kofta curry, click here for the detailed pictorial recipe.
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