Aloo Methi – spinning potatoes with fenugreek leaves

I’ll be honest – the humble potato has taken a bit of a backseat in our meals of late. With all the hoopla around the nutritional content of a potato, we have not been making it a staple at meals. But potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. And it takes so little to elevate the potato into a lip smacking dish. Like this one, where the potatoes are sautéed in some oil, with cumin seeds, chilis and a whole bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves. Fenugreek leaves also known as “methi” are available aplenty at Indian grocery stores, and this is one of those put a meal together in a jiffy kind of dishes that takes a few ingredients. Sadly, the toughest part of making this dish is the painstaking cleaning required to rid the leaves of mud and grit.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 2 tsps cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red chili pods
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes, and washed
  • 1 bunch fenugreek leaves, washed repeatedly till the mud and grit is gone and finely chopped (discard the tough stems)
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

How to:

1. Heat two tbsps of oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and red chili pods.

2. When the cumin seeds sizzle, add the cubed potatoes, salt, and turmeric powder. Cover and cook on a medium flame, stirring occasionally till the potatoes are nearly done (a fork inserted should glide through the potato). This took about 13 minutes for me. (If your potatoes are sticking to the bottom, sprinkle a bit of water)

3. Add the chopped fenugreek leaves, toss the potatoes so the leaves are evenly mixed in. Cook covered for five minutes, and then without a lid for a couple of minutes till the leaves have wilted and have coated the potatoes.

4. Serve hot with roti or pita.

5. A tip. You could also make cumin potatoes by skipping the fenugreek leaves altogether and calling the dish done when the potatoes are cooked. This tastes yum by itself or with rotis or as an accompaniment to rice.

An absolutely divine malai kofta

I’ve made malai kofta (aka home made cheese balls in a creamy gravy) many times in my life. But I never ever tried my mom’s recipe. Well, it isn’t mom’s original recipe, but one that she learned by saving some hard to come by money to attend cooking classes in Mumbai when I was a kid. Not only did mom expand her knowledge of cooking, but my brother and I were the fortunate recipients of her wonderful creations. Given the current “stay home” situation, I’ve been browsing through many of her recipes and decided to finally make her version of Malai Kofta. Not only did the dish turn out absolutely divine (my mom said so herself!), but I was doubly grateful that my mom took the time to make these exotic creations with some frequency when we were kids. It is a dish that requires quite a few ingredients and takes some time, but I promise you that you will have no leftovers on your plate or in your fridge.

Ingredients for the koftas:

  • 350 gms paneer, finely grated
  • 3 tbsps whole wheat flour or one slice of bread (I used low carb 647 bread) (for binding)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 4 chopped green chilis
  • 1 tsp finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • Oil to shallow or deep fry the koftas

    Ingredients for the spice paste

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh or dry grated coconut
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 6 small green chilis
  • 2 tsps chili powder
  • 2 large bunches of coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 2 tsps coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp white poppy seeds (khus khus)
  • 1 inch piece ginger

    Ingredients for the gravy
  • 4 tbsps ghee or vegetable oil
  • 4 tomatoes crushed and set aside with the liquid
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt to taste

    Ingredients for garnishing

  • 1 tsp coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp finely sliced almonds

How to:

1. Knead the paneer well, mix the flour or the slice of bread softened with a tad bit of water, and all the ingredients for the koftas except for the oil and shape into round balls. Deep or shallow fry the balls in oil and set aside on a paper towel to drain.

2. Put all the ingredients for the spice paste into a blender and grind into a fine paste with just enough water so the paste is a gravy consistency.

3.Heat the ghee or oil for the gravy in a pan and fry the spice paste well for about five minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes, cream, and salt and cook the gravy for 10 -15 minutes. Turn off the stove.

5. Just before serving, transfer the gravy to a serving dish, add the kofta balls, and if you want, decorate with some finely sliced almonds and cilantro.

6. Serve hot with rotis, pita, naan, or rice.

A creamy, delish, cabbage and spinach soup

I was cleaning out a few things in the fridge today and pulled out a few remaining veggies, some stock, a bit of leftover focaccia bread and pondered how I could use all of this up in one go.

Given the current environment, every morsel of food is even more precious. And what emerged from this mishmash of ingredients was a delicious, creamy, good for you soup. Here’s how I went about the transformation.

Ingredients for soup:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups cabbage, finely chopped, and washed
  • 1 packed cup baby spinach, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 green chilis, finely chopped
  • A sprig of oregano
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp salt

    For croutons (you can use store bought ones)
  • Some leftover bread, cubed
  • A tbsp of olive oil
  • A bit of red pepper flakes

    For garnishing
  • A tbsp or two of grated parmesan cheese
  • Some olive oil
  • A sprig of oregano

How to:

1. Heat one tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and sauté for five minutes on medium heat.

2. Add the cabbage, spinach, green chilis, oregano, vegetable stock, and salt, mix well and cook till the cabbage and spinach appear wilted. This took about ten minutes on medium heat for me.

3. Transfer the veggies to a blender or use a hand blender to puree the veggies till smooth.

4. If making croutons, heat a tbsp of oil in a pan. Add a bit of red pepper flakes and toss the bread cubes, frying till crisp (about ten minutes).

5. Transfer the soup into two bowls. Top with the croutons, some parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

6. Enjoy!

 

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