August 12, 2013

Methi Matar Malai - Methi Leaves Cooked with Matar and Malai (For Roti, Pulao)

Methi Matar Malai - there's something musical about the name of this popular North Indian side dish made with methi leaves, matar or peas, and malai or cream. While I have no issues adding cream to my dishes (paneer butter masala, anyone?), I decided to make a version of methi matar malai with no cream by using magaz or white melon seeds. You can very well use cashew nuts instead but I loved the nuttiness of magaz in my paneer makhani so decided to use up the rest in this methi matar malai - or should I say methi matar no malai.
Methi Matar Malai - Methi Leaves Cooked with Matar and Malai (For Roti, Pulao)
Methi Matar Malai with Methi Thepla
The methi matar malai you get in restaurants has a white base since most don't add tomatoes. I wanted a bit to give my version a bit of tang so used a bit of canned tomato sauce which lends itself well to a smooth gravy for the curry. You can definitely omit the tomatoes. I also didn't add too much masala to the methi matar malai, deciding to keep it simple and let the flavours of the methi, peas, and base spices ingredients shine through.

Methi Matar Malai - Methi Leaves Cooked with Matar and Malai (For Roti, Pulao)

Looking for more methi leaves recipes? Check out my top 3 favourites - methi pulao, aloo methi, and methi paratha.

METHI MATAR MALAI RECIPE

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup of onions, cubed
1/2 cup of onions, sliced thin
2-3 cloves of garlic
1" piece of ginger
2 green chillies
1 tsp of jeera or cumin seeds
1/3 cup of canned tomato sauce or 1/2 cup pureed tomato - optional
3 tbsp of magaz or melon seeds or 1/4 cup cashew nuts, soaked in water for 15 mins
2 cups of packed methi or fenugreek leaves
1/2 cup of green peas
1 cup of milk
1 tsp of garam masala or Kitchen King masala
2 tsp of ghee or butter or oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Grind together the cubed onions, green chillies, ginger, and garlic to a smooth paste.
methi malai matar recipe-10

Add the magaz or cashew nuts and grind further to a smooth paste, adding a few spoonfuls of water.
methi malai matar recipe

2. Heat the ghee (or butter or oil) in a pan and add the cumin seeds. When they splutter and turn fragrant, add the sliced onions and sauté until lightly browned.
methi malai matar recipe-2

3. Add the ground paste and tomato sauce (if using) to this and simmer for 3-4 mins.
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4. Meanwhile, pick the leaves of the methi and wash well. Chop roughly and add to the simmering paste along with the green peas (matar).
methi malai matar recipe-8

5. Add the milk and some salt. Mix well.
methi malai matar recipe-3

6. Cook covered for about 10 mins until the peas is cooked soft.
methi malai matar recipe-4

7. Uncover and add the garam masala and more salt if needed.
methi malai matar recipe-9

8. Mix and remove from fire. If the gravy is too thick, add more water or milk and bring to boil again before removing from flame. If too watery, you can simmer it longer but remember that the gravy will thicken as it sits.

methi malai matar recipe-5

Hot Methi Matar Malai is best served with nan, paratha, rotis, or pulao like veg pulao or jeera pulao.

NOTES:
  1. Methi matar malai is a lovely blend of sweet + bitter + salty. Adding a pinch of sugar won't be a bad idea but mostly the sweetness will come from the onions
  2. Use frozen methi leaves if you can't find any fresh ones. You can also use kasuri methi soaked in water instead of the fresh leaves. Reduce quanity to about 1 cup if so since dried methi leaves are much more intense in flavour than the fresh leaves
  3. You can, of course, omit the magaz or cashews and add cream in the end along with the garam masala to make restaurant-style methi matar malai