Being an Indian my obvious choice of entertainment like millions of other Indians have been cricket and Bollywood. Let me talk about Bollywood here. While growing up national broadcaster Doordarshan was the only source of entertainment, and weekly they used to telecast some Bollywood movie that I would eagerly wait for. Sometimes they would telecast some serious meaningful cinema by directors like Guru Dutt, Shyam Benegal and I was ill-equipped back then to understand their movies and would go to sleep half way through.
However, like most of the teenagers I was a big fan of Amitabh Bachchan or I must say all those movies that had melodrama typical to Bollywood and that ended on a positive note and after these movies I would sleep very happily in peace. One such movie that is my all-time favorite is “Amar-Akbar-Anthony”. A typical Bollywood story directed by Manmohan Desai, a tale of 3 brothers getting separated in a typical Bollywood fashion and after so many twists and turns story ends with the reunion of the 3 brothers and their girlfriends and their parents and it ends as they say with a “Happy ending”.
This recipe of “Methi-Matar-Malai” has always reminded me of my favorite Bollywood movie and like my favorite movie I will anytime prefer having methi-matar-malai if given a choice. However, I was exposed to this dish very late in my culinary journey. You would find it hard to believe but I had my first plate of this dish when I got my first salary and went out with my friends to celebrate the occasion at one of the Punjabi dhabas. One of my friends had ordered this dish and when I tasted methi-matar-malai I was simply wowed. If you are inquisitive and thinking how could I have been so late tasting this veg recipe, well I must admit that growing up my pocket money was 20 rupees for a month in my school days and as I progressed in college, my pocket money grew 5 times and became 100 rupees a month. Well it would have been atrocious if I would have spent that amount on going to restaurant and trying out these dishes. Our idea of partying would be coke and sandwich and if we felt too adventurous we would opt for road side vendor’s Chinese preparation. Aah!! Good old days. Coming back to my first encounter with methi-matar-malai, at the onset, this recipe caught my fancy. I was bowled over by its simplicity. The contrasting combination of bitterness of Methi (Fenugreek leaves) and sweetness of milk and malai (cream) imparted the recipe a subtlety that often gets lost somewhere and when you find it you don’t want to lose it.
This is a north Indian preparation that is so famous that every North Indian restaurant menu would be incomplete without this dish. As the name suggests it is made with 3 chief ingredients Methi (fenugreek leaves), malai (fresh cream) and matar (green peas). I decided to make the microwave adaptation of this recipe and hope you guys would love it. What I love the most about this recipe is its texture and its color. As I write this, thinking about the silky smooth texture and whitish green color of the gravy and its sweet-bitter taste, I am getting hungry. I have some plain Paratha ready in my kitchen, and it’s time for my lunch. It is time for me to satiate my hunger with methi-matar-malai and Paratha.
- 2 cups Fenugreek leaves washed and drained and chopped finely.
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- ⅔ rd cup full fat milk
- ½ cup fresh cream
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp poppy seeds
- ½ tsp sugar
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch piece of ginger root
- 2 medium sized onion cut in cubes
- 4 green chilies
- ⅓ rd cup cashewnuts
- Cooking Oil
- Mix some salt in chopped Fenugreek leaves and keep them aside for 10 minutes.
- Take onions, green chilies, ginger, garlic, cashewnuts and poppy seeds and grind them all into a fine paste using little water.
- Consistency of masala should be fine.
- After 10 minutes, squeeze the excess water out from fenugreek leaves. This helps to reduce the bitterness of fenugreek.
- Take 1 tbsp oil in a microwave safe bowl. Add fenugreek leaves and cook it in microwave for 1 minute a) Micro mode: 900 Watt b) Set Timer: 2 minutes.
- Keep the cooked fenugreek leaves aside. Take another bowl and add 2 tbsp oil to it. Add cumin seeds and roast it in microwave for 1 minute. a) Micro mode: 900 Watt b) Set Timer: 1 minute
- After a minute when cumin seeds gets roasted, add white paste and cook it for 2 minutes.a) Micro mode: 900 Watt b) Set Timer: 2 minute.
- White Masala gets roasted after 2 minutes. Now add garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves, sugar, green peas, cooked fenugreek leaves , cream, milk and salt.
- Mix all the ingredients well and cook them in microwave for 4 minutes as per taste.
- a) Micro mode: 900 Watt b) Set Timer: 4 minutes.Pause after 2 minute and give it a nice stir and resume the timer.
- Methi Matar Malai is ready to be served
- Enjoy this delicious preparation with Laccha Paratha.
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