The best part about winters is the abundance of green vegetables in the market. Though these days almost all the vegetables are available all year round, but I am firm believer in seasonal eating. So I tend to eat leafy vegetables more in winters, rather than in summers.
These days am cooking a lot with the greens. I buy a bunch of fenugreek and spinach each, every weekend for the weekly grocery and try to finish it up within the first 3 days of the week so it doesn’t start getting bad. For spinach, I use that in a lot of things like Spinach raita, spinach Paratha or cook with Paneer as in this Paneer Pudina. But for methi, due to the dominating bitterness, its not feasible to use it in a lot of dishes. Though this bitterness is the main characteristic of methi leaves which distinguishes it from the rest. Read how to reduce the bitterness of Methi
Last week, I posted a recipe for Methi rice with black chickpeas. That is one of my most favourite recipes, a well-balanced meal with protein, iron, carbohydrates and other vitamins in abundance.
This recipe of Methi aalu (i.e. aloo methi) is a very simple one, and takes no time to get ready if the leaves are already plucked and cleaned up. There is another version which I prepare with lots of garlic and onion, sometimes tomatoes too. But this is how my Mum prepares it and that’s why its my favourite.
It’s amazing how the minimal use of spices can churn in such great flavours from any dish. I only used turmeric, salt and red chili powder for this dish and no other spice. And that has made the actual flavours from the greens to come out.
Since this is also a No onion-garlic recipe it is suitable to have during Navratri as well. I usually prepare it when I am no mood for elaborative cooking, wither with plain chapatti or with dal rice combo. It’s easy on stomach and keeps you rich for longer due to its high fibre content.
You can make it by two ways. A) by boiling the potatoes separately, peel and then adding to the main dish. B) Simply chop the potatoes in cubes and sauté them with the leaves. There is only a slight difference in the taste of both the versions, but a big one in the texture. The potatoes are more firm and a bit crispy in the second version and retains their shape well so it looks more presentable. But I still prefer the first version over the later since:
When you boil the potatoes, they release a good proportion of the starch. Starch in general, is not good for the body at all. It also consumes less fat since the potatoes are already cooked and don’t need much oil to cook further.
Secondly, if the methi leaves are plucked and cleaned and potatoes are already boiled; it doesn’t take long to prepare the dish. It hardly takes about 15 minutes and its ready. You may plan ahead and boil the potatoes & pluck the leaves on weekend and then on the weekdays your healthy dinner will be ready in minutes.
Here in this recipe however, I have posted the second version. Where I add the potato cubes in the pan with the methi leaves. Will post the boiled version of this dish soon.
- 2 bunches of fenugreek leaves (methi)
- 2-3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 green chilies, chopped small
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp cooking oil – I used Mustard oil
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ¾ tsp red chili powder
- Salt to taste
How to make?
After you have reduced the bitterness of methi using this method, wash it well and squeeze all the extra water out.
Wash the potatoes in warm water thoroughly, and dice in cubes. Keep the size small and equal for even cooking. Keep them aside immersed in warm water until use.
Heat the oil in a deep sauce pan or wok (kadhai). Throw in the cumin seeds and let them splutter
Add in the green chili, turmeric and red chili powder and cook for half a minute on medium gas. Add in potatoes and salt, mix well and cook covered on medium gas for 4-5 minutes. Keep stirring in between to avoid them sticking at the bottom. If required, sprinkle few drops of water so it doesn’t get too dry.
When the potatoes are half cooked, add in methi leaves. Mix well and leave to simmer for next 7-8 minutes, stirring in between. Methi leaves will release some water so you don’t need to add any at this stage.
Check if the potatoes have cooked properly, uncover and cook for a few minutes so if there is some water remaining, it will evaporate. Once it reaches at your desired constancy, turn off the gas.
Serve hot with phulka (roti) and chilled raita aside. Some nutritious raita recipes HERE.
I tend to use mustard oil for my dry side dishes most of the times, to give that sharp taste. It also doesn’t let the dry dish get “dry” completely so the texture comes out really nice. Some people don’t like its pungent aroma though, so you may use any neutral tasting cooking oil. I would suggest using seeds oil rather than vegetable oil since they have a nutty flavour and go well with dry side dishes (sabzi/sabji)
I never peel my potatoes, unless the skin is very dirty or some guests are coming over. Peel or skin of all the vegetables carry certain nutrients, you just have to wash them thoroughly in warm water to remove any pesticide or dirt particles. So for this recipe too, I have used potatoes with their skin on.
If you like having these dry side dishes, why not try this Dahi Alu recipe. Whole baby potatoes marinated in yogurt sauce, cooked with mint and mild spices. So yummy it is !