The only way I have used methi leaves till date was to cook it with some lentlis and make methi daal. For the uninitiated, Methi or Fenugreek is a key ingredient in many Indian households. It is available in the form of dried seeds and fresh leaves and has loads of health benefits from aiding digestion to reducing the risk of heat disease and also being a good hair conditioner. Now, not many like methi because of its slight bitter taste, but this can be taken care of to a great extent before cooking it, unlike in the case of my nemesis – the bitter gourd!
Few weeks ago, we had a crisis situation at home, when I could not cook dinner and ended up buying some frozen aloo methi parathas by accident! Yes, accident because I thought I was picking up paneer kulchas!! Now, despite avoiding most forms of cooked frozen food, I had to agree that the combination of aloo and methi in a paratha was a hit! This, coupled with the fact that I was bored of daals, led to the bunch of methi leaves that I had in my fridge to take the form of parathas. Now, many Indian households (at least down south) make methi paratha by finely chopping the leaves and mixing it with the dough. Even I have had it the same way in the past. However, I am not really a great fan of parathas which have their star ingredients mixed into the dough (unless its potato gnocchi – hopefully more on this subject soon) and prefer the star ingredients stuffed into the paratha as that allows me to appreciate the paratha more 🙂
What I used
This recipe makes enough stuffing for about 8 parathas
– 1 bunch of methi leaves
– 2 medium sized potatoes – pressure cooked, cooled and peeled
– 1 tsp of turmeric powder
– 1 tsp of cumin powder
– 1/2 tsp coriander powder
– 1 tsp chilli powder
– 1 tsp ginger powder
– 1 tsp amchur powder
– 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
– Salt to taste
– 1 tsps cooking oil
– Dough for making the paratha (Sorry, I am assuming you know how to mix dough for chapathis and parathas. If not, google will sure come to your rescue. I have just not been able to get around to creating a post about making dough)
How I did it
- Remove the methi leaves from their stalks and wash them well. Fresh bunches of Methi leaves tend to have some sand sticking to them so it is imperative that you wash them well.
- Rough chop the methi leaves and put them in a colander. Sprinkle some salt on top of the leaves and mix well. Now leave the leaves to rest for about 15-20 minutes.
- When the leaves have rested well enough, take them out in bunches and squeeze the water out of the leaves and transfer them to a plate
If case you were wondering what all this was about, prepping the methi this way will help you eliminate any bitter taste from the methi leaves
- Heat the oil in a kadai / saucepan and when it is hot enough add the cumin seeds.
- When the cumin seeds start spluttering, take the methi leaves, give them one last squeeze to remove any excess water and toss them into the pan and saute them for a few minutes. You will definitely smell the methi and its a good smell for those that love methi and if you have any hungry family members around, you can be sure that their appetites will increase like crazy when this smell floods the kitchen
- When the methi has shrivelled up a bit and most of the water has disappeared, add all the spice powders and mix well and cook for about 2 minutes
- Add salt to the methi mix. Take care with the salt as the leaves would already have some salt thanks to the prep work. But you want to be sure to add just the right amount of salt so that the stuffing has the right taste when the potato is added to the mix
- Crumble the potato, add to the methi mix and mix well until the stuffing is virtually moisture free.
- Switch off the stove and let the stuffing mix cool. When the mixture is cool, mix well using your hands so that potato and the methi leaves are incorporated with the spices.
- Make small balls of the stuffing and keep it aside to stuff into the paratha
Assembling the Paratha
- Pre-heat a tava on the stove so that it will be hot enough by the time the parathas are ready for cooking
- Roll out the dough like you would do for a chapathi
- Keep a aloo methi ball in the center and fold the ends of the dough into the center
- Lock in the ends, flatten the ball, place it seam side down and start rolling into a paratha very gently with the help of a rolling pin until the paratha resembles a flat disc. Sometimes the stuffing might peep through but this is perfectly normal and in fact will make the paratha taste better 🙂
- Add about 1/4 tsp of oil to the hot pan and spread it around
- Transfer the paratha disc to the tava and cook for about a minute
- Flip it over to the other side and continue to cool until the paratha starts puffing up here and there
- Flip the paratha again and cook until brown spots appear and the paratha looks done. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes
- If you are fortunate enough to have a body that allows it, garnish your paratha with some ghee before serving.
These parathas taste best with some yogurt and Indian pickles 🙂