Friday, January 6, 2012
Paneer Methi Malai
Fresh Fenugreek or Methi as we call it is known for its slightly bitter taste and multiple health advantages. Not as easily available as spinach in the part of the world that I stay in, I try and make the most of this herb and spice whenever available.
The recipe below enhances the rich, creamy taste of Paneer (cottage cheese) and at the same time also highlights the distinct flavor of the methi leaves, making it a dish to remember.
The selling point of this dish is that its flavor and appearance far surpass the effort put in cooking it. You can cook this delicious curry in no time at all and yet when you put it on the table, it looks every bit as rich and inviting as any dish you have spent hours working on.
Chopped Onion – 1 large
Crushed almonds – half a cup
Paneer cubes – 15 medium sized
Methi leaves – 1 cup
Dry red chilies – 2 medium
Cinnamon powder – ¼ tsp
Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
Cumin powder – 2 tsp
Garam masala – ½ tsp
Sugar – ¼ tsp
Milk – 1 cup
Oil – 1 tsp
Butter – ½ tsp
Salt and pepper
Wash the methi leaves thoroughly, give them a rough chop and keep aside. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan, add the dry red chilies and onions and cook the onion for 5 minutes. Mix in the crushed almonds and cook for a couple of minutes more. Now sprinkle in the spices – salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom powders. Mix well and turn off the heat. After the mixture cools, pour in half a cup of milk and puree to make a gravy.
In a deep skillet, heat the butter and add cumin seeds. Add methi leaves as the cumin seeds crackle. Cook for just about a minute and transfer the gravy into the skillet. Add sugar and garam masala and cook covered for 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in the paneer cubes and the remaining ½ a cup of milk. Let everything cook together covered for a good 10 minutes. Paneer Methi Matar Malai is done and ready to be served.
· With Roti/Paratha/flavored rice
· You can fry the paneer cubes before adding them to the gravy, more color, more taste.
· Dry Methi leaves can also be used in place of fresh ones, increase the quantity slightly.
· You can make the gravy thicker or thinner depending on preference by adding more or less milk.
· You can substitute almonds with cashews or walnuts.
· Fenugreek in Latin means “Green Hay”.
· Fenugreek is used in India for relief against arthritis pain.