Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Methi Malai Matar ~ Creamy Green Peas Curry ~ With Stepwise pictures

Methi malai matar is a classic and popular creamy  curry made with green peas and  fresh fenugreek leaves. Matar = green peas, methi = fenugreek leaves and malai = cream, so the name pretty much says it all. This curry tastes awesome with any kind of phulka/ naan/ kulcha/ flat bread. Most versions of this curry that I come across liberally use cream in their recipes and most do not use any tomato puree. I used to make a version of this curry without tomato puree too earlier and like that version quite a bit too.  But recently I came across a version of this curry in a book I recently purchased,  called Punjabi subzis by Tarla Dalal which used tomato puree in it and did not use any cream.

Curious to see how it would taste, I gave it a whirl and really loved it. The tomato does make a difference to the taste of the curry, it balances out the flavors well and the curry tastes rich, creamy and delicious and this without any cream in it :) Since that first time I made it, I have made this a few times and have adapted the recipe a little, this final version is now my go to recipe for methi malai matar :)

Click here for a printable view of this recipe

Ingredients and Method to make Methi Malai Matar
2 packed cups of  fresh fenugreek leaves (Methi / Mendiya keerai)
3 cups of green peas (matar) boiled until soft
1 cup tomato puree (from 3 medium tomatoes/ tamatar/ thakkalli)
2 Tbsp clarified butter (ghee/ nei) (can be substituted with a flavorless oil for a vegan version)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera/ jeeragam) 
1/2 onion cut fine (pyaaz/ vengayam)
salt to taste (namak/ uppu)
1 tsp sugar (shakkar/ sakkarai)
1 cup milk  (doodh/ paal)  (use non diary milk for a vegan version)

Masala Paste-To be ground into paste
2 and 1/2 Tbsp cashew pieces (kaju)
4 Thai or Indian variety green chilies (or to taste) (hari mirch/ pachai molagai)
1 tsp chopped ginger (adrak/ inji)
1/2 onion cut fine (pyaaz/ vengayam)
3 cloves of garlic (lehsun/ poondu)
2 tsp khus khus (poppy seeds)

Masala- Dry roast and grind
4 thin 1/2 inch pieces of cinnamon (dalchini / pattai)
2 cloves (lavang/ laung)
3 green cardamoms (elaichi/ ellakai)
5 whole black pepper (miri/ milagu)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera / jeeragam)

Dry roast all the  ingredients mentioned under masala for a few seconds, cool and grind to a fine powder, remove and keep aside.

Grind all the ingredients under masala paste into a smooth paste, using no water preferably, if needed add just a tsp at a time. Keep this paste aside.

Blanch the tomatoes. Blanching is the process of placing tomatoes in hot almost boiling water for a few minutes about 3 to 4 minutes until the skin cracks slightly.  Then transferring it into a bowl with cold water. When cooler, peel the skin. For this recipe, after peeling the skin, cut into small pieces and puree in a blender/mixer until it is smooth.

Boil green peas in enough water until it is soft and keep aside.

Rinse methi leaves, dry on a kitchen tissue and chop roughly. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat one tbsp oil clarified butter and add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds to it. When the seeds sizzle add methi leaves and stir for a couple of minutes until it has become soft. Remove and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat another tbsp of clarified butter/ ghee on medium heat and add onions and stir until onions turn translucent and begin to slightly brown. Lower heat and add ground masala paste to it and stir for another few minutes until the paste loses its raw smell. It took me about 3 to 4 minutes on low heat to get there.

Add tomato puree and dry powder and stir for a few more minutes until the tomato puree begins to thicken slightly.

Add boiled green peas, sauteed fenugreek/ methi leaves, salt to taste, sugar, milk and water as required to achieve required consistency and simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to mingle.

Remove and serve hot with rotis/ phulkas/ kulchas/ naans or with plain steamed rice/ jeera (cumin) rice/pulao
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