Methi matar malai is a simple dish made with peas, fenureek (methi) leaves into a curry. My version uses no dairy cream but white melon seeds to make that creamy base.
- 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 teaspoon of jeera or cumin seeds
- 1/3 cup of canned tomato sauce or 1/2 cup pureed tomato – optional
- 3 tablespoons of 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 teaspoon of garam masala or Kitchen King masala
- 2 teaspoon of ghee or butter or oil
1. Grind together the cubed onions, green chillies, ginger, and garlic to a smooth paste.
2. Add the melon seeds or cashew nuts and grind further to a smooth paste, adding a few spoonfuls of water.
3. Heat the ghee (or butter or oil) in a pan and add the cumin seeds.
4. When they splutter and turn fragrant, add the sliced onions and sauté until lightly browned.
5. Add the ground paste and tomato sauce (if using) to this and simmer for 3-4 mins.
6. Meanwhile, pick the leaves of the methi and wash well.
7. Chop roughly and add to the simmering paste along with the green peas.
8. Add the milk and some salt. Mix well.
9. Cook covered for about 10 mins until the peas is cooked soft.
10. Uncover and add the garam masala and more salt if needed.
11. 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 matar malai is a lovely blend of sweetness + bitterness + saltiness. Adding a pinch of sugar won’t be a bad idea but mostly, the sweetness will come from the onions
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 quantity in this case to about 3/4 cup since dried methi leaves are much more intense in flavour than the fresh leaves
You can, of course, omit the melon seeds or cashews and add cream in the end along with the garam masala to make restaurant-style methi matar malai. Tastes delicious that way too.