Qimah Aloo Methi

“..the only one way to learn to cook is through the senses and heart. It turns out it is the only real way to live and to love, as well.” ~ Nani Power

Toronto has four very distinct and picturesque seasons. Among them all, I absolutely love fall. The amazing colors that the trees take on sets my heart to praise its beauty beyond words. The misty mornings, spectacular drives, earthen colors, cozy sweaters, cool winds, falling leaves. Yep, I am in love with the most colorful season of Toronto -Autumn/Fall.

Fall is my favorite season for cooking. This season for me calls for very rustic and traditional recipes like Biryani along with Mirchi ka Salan, or masaaledaar (spicy) curries that I can enjoy along with warm parathas, HaleemNihari and the usual simple soups to warm up the body. Today I prepared Qimah Aloo Methi along with piping hot Khichdi, perfect for the fall season, warm and comforting.

baby fenugreek leaves – choti methi ki bhaji

Qimah Aloo Methi is a usual at most Hyderabadi households. Baby fenugreek leaves, aka choti methi ki bhaji as they are called in Urdu language, is the key to a great tasting Qimah Aloo Methi. You can either grow fenugreek leaves in your own backyards, or buy it from the markets. If baby methi is not available, you can make do with the usual matured fenugreek leaves that are available at grocery stores which is called as badi methi ki bhaji, or use dried methi leaves which is the Kasuri methi, like I did.

We used to enjoy this curry along with warm parathas at breakfast or along with Khichdi, Khatta and Chutney at lunch. Nothing can go wrong with this simple yet nourishing recipe. You are bound to fall in love with it.

Qimah Aloo Methi – Minced meat along with Potatoes and Fenugreek leaves

Ingredients:

Onions – 2, medium sized, finely sliced
Minced Lamb/Veal meat/Qimah – 1 lb
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Cloves – 4
Green Cardamoms – 2
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Tomato – 1, large, finely diced
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Green chillies – 3, each slit in half lengthwise
Fresh baby methi leaves or matured leaves – 3 bunches, root part chopped and discarded, tender stams and leaves finely chopped, washed and drained (or) Kasoori Methi – 2 tbsp
Red/White potatoes – 3, large, quartered

Qimah Aloo Methi – Minced meat along with Potatoes and Fenugreek leaves

Method:

1. Wash the minced meat well in a fine strainer so that the blood drains off. What my Ammi always does while washing minced meat is that she mixes the raw minced meat with sliced onions, and she then puts it in a fine meshed strainer meant specifically for washing minced meat and she then lets fresh tap water run over it while working the minced meat with her fingers until the water runs clear. She says that mixing sliced onions with the meat will help wash the minced meat well and also helps get rid of the smell. Once washed, let the washed minced meat and onion sit in the strainer over a large bowl for a hour or so to let the excess water drain away.
2. In a large frying pan at medium high heat, pour in oil and as soon as it warms up, add the cloves and cardamoms. Now add the ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder. Stir fry for a few seconds. Immediately add the diced tomatoes and green chillies. Mix well. Add the drained minced meat and onions. Using a spoon break the minced meat while mixing it up thoroughly with the masala and cover the lid. Keep mixing it and the covering it until you see the color of the minced meat has changed from red to brown. Now add the fresh methi or kasoori methi, quartered potatoes and water to cover and let it cook covered at simmer. Keep stirring it frequently. Once the water has all dried up and the potatoes are done, remove from heat and serve immediately along with warm parathas.

***

On a different note, I have been thinking of announcing an event especially dedicated to the iconic Kacchi Biryani of Hyderabad. It would be wonderful to go through everyone’s recipes for the Kacchi Biryani. What do you think. Will you all participate and join in the fun. Please let me know.

Luv,
Mona

Turai Methi Gosht ka Salan

Fresh Fenugeek leaves~Methi patta, a cleansing and healing Indian herb, adds an earthy flavor when cooked. Every Summer, I religiously sow a few seeds of methi along with other herbs and veggies in the small patch of vegetable garden in my lawn and enjoy the summers bounty.

Freshly plucked matured fenugreek plants and chopped turai

Fenugreek leaves are rich in iron, protein, calcium, carotene (vitamin A). When steamed along with Turai and meat, it enhances their taste and makes the curry more flavorful and appealing.

Turai Methi Gosht ka Salan – Ridged Gourd in Meat+Fenugreek leaves sauce

Enjoy this mellow tasting curry along with something khatta/sour like the khatti dal or khatta salan for a delicious meal.

Turai Methi Gosht ka Salan – Ridged Gourd in Meat+Fenugreek leaves sauce

Ingredients:

Yellow onion – 2, large, peeled and roughly chopped
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Sheep/Veal meat with bone – 650 gms
Turai – 6, medium sized, peeled, and sliced
Small Green chillies – 2 or 3, chopped (optional)
Fresh Methi leaves – 2 cups, loosely packed, finely chopped (discard stems and flowers)

Method:

1. In a pressure cooker, add chopped onions, red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and meat. Pour half cup water and mix well. Close the lid and pressure cook for about 10 minutes or until the meat is tender.
2. Open the lid and add the chopped turai. Mix well with a spoon. Half cover the lid and let it cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add the chopped green chillies (if using), and chopped methi and stir well to mix. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve warm.

Luv,
Mona

Aloo Methi Gosht

The Haramasala walah (herb vendor) used to come by our house back in Hyderabad at around 10 a.m everyday. His loud, long and rhythemic shout..

“Kothmir, Pudina, Harimirch, Methi, Palak, Kulfa.. lelo”  (Buy fresh green herbs for cooking)

.. announcing whatever he carried on his bicycle that day, in small gunny bags to keep them fresh in the morning heat for his regular customers, used to bring me hurrying up to the gate.

I admit I miss these kind of venders here. They would have a boon in the kind of busy lives we are living. Imagine the kind of convenience they would have offered! You would atleast not have to worry for the supply for daily fresh fruits and green herbs in your diet. Aloo Methi Gosht reminds me of this Haramasala walah selling a range of fresh herbs and greens at my doorstep at a cut-price.

Aloo Methi Gosht – Potatoes,Meat and fresh Fenugreek leaves curry

The recipe is quite simple, and most loved in my family. Here it goes:

Aloo Methi Gosht – Potatoes, Meat and fresh Fenugreek leaves curry

Ingredients:

  • Canola oil – 2 tbsp
  • Red Onion – 1, large
  • Meat – 250 gms
  • Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 2 tsp
  • Potatoes – 6, medium sized
  • Tomato – 1, large
  • Methi – 1 cup

Method:

  • Add oil in the cooker. Once warm, add onions, meat and red chilli powder, salt. Let cook for about 5 mins on medium heat. Later, add water, close the lid and pressure cook until the meat is very tender.
  • In the same pressure cooker with stock and meat, add tomatoes, diced potatoes and give it a stir. Pressure cook again for about 6-8 minutes or until the potatoes are just done.
  • Add the chopped methi and let cook for about 5 more minutes.

Suggested Accompaniments: Tomato chutney and warm Rice or Rotis.

Luv,
Mona

Murgh Methi

Inshallah the holy month of Ramadhan begins from tomorrow here, I wish all my readers Ramadhan Mubarak! May the choicest blessings of ALLAH (سبحانه وتعالى) shower upon us all, and grace our home with peace joy and happiness.

Ramadhan Mubarak to you all!

This month inshallah, like the last year, I will try to take some time out and post about the Ramadhan special dishes, some authentic, and some daily recipes, with tips to make life easier.

Tip: In my current daily schedule, I do not get time to sit at home and cook leisurely for Iftaar or the dinner afterwards, or for Seher for that matter. So what I do is, I stock up my refrigerator and freezer with cooked food that I prepare as and when I get time. Lots of curries in the freezer- both vegetarian, non-vegetarian and dals., Rice for the week in the refrigerator. When I have to serve food, I reheat them all for a few minutes in the microwave and serve it all piping hot on the Dastarkhaan. This way I stay peaceful and get ample time for my studies and prayers. This a great tip that I learnt from my MIL.

Mature/Full-grown Fenugreek leaves/Methi in pot

Mature Funugreek Leaf/Methi

To Grow Methi: This Summer, I had planted Fenugeek leaves/Methi along with the others. Methi is very easy to grow and the quickest to germinate. Just sprinkle a few fenugreek/methi seeds on wet soil and cover them up lightly using damp soil. Keep watering them everyday a little bit, you will soon see small seedlings in about a week time. Usually we Hyderabadis do not use the full grown mature Fenugreek leaves/Methi leaves in cooking. We pluck the leaves when they are at the two-leaves stage, tender, young and full of flavor. Click here to have a look at the tender baby methi available in Indian farmers markets. This time however I let it grow and used mature leaves to prepare Murgh Methi.

Murgh Methi is a delicious and well-known Hyderabadi chicken curry. I prepare it usually in the oven when I cannot devote my time to attend to the chicken cooking on stove top. But I have tried both the methods, the stove top method and the Oven method, and the curry was just as delicious both the ways.

Murgh Methi – Chicken with Fenugreek leaves

Ingredients:

Chicken with bone – 1.3 kgs, cut into medium size pieces
Onions
Canola Oil – 1 tbsp (optional)
Canned Tomato paste – 1/2 cup
Ginger -Garlic paste – 2tbsp
Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Dy roasted Cumin seed powder – 1 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander seed powder – 1 tsp
Fenugreek leaves – fresh, roughly chopped, 1 cup

Oven Method-The following is a quick method, where you do not have to stand in front of the stove attending to the chicken and tiring your legs. You have to simply marinate it and then let it slow cook in you oven, saving you lots of time:

1. Wash the chicken pieces, pull off the skin and excess fat and leave to drain in a colander.
2. In a large flat baking dish, add 100 gms of store brought fried onions. Add the chicken along with all the other ingredients except the fenugreek leaves and mix well so that all the chicken pieces are coated with the marinade. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and keep in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 3 hrs.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
4. Bring the marinated chicken to room temperature and keep the dish, covered, in the oven and let it cook for about 35 minutes. Later, carefully remove the aluminium foil (hot steam can burn your fingers) and throw in the fresh chopped fenugreek leaves. Gently stir to mix without breaking the chicken pieces. Cover once again with the aluminium foil and put it back into the oven and let it cook for a further 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Stove-Top Method-If you do not happen to have an Oven in your house, You can always prepare this curry on stove-top. The following is the procedure for it:

1. Wash the chicken pieces, pull off the skin and excess fat and leave to drain in a colander.
2. Pour oil into a large frying pan and fry two large finely sliced onions till golden brown. Add ginger garlic paste, and chicken pieces and stir fry them till they are lightly browned on all sides.
3. Add salt, red chilli powder, cumin seed powder, coriander seed powder, turmeric and canned tomato paste. Close the lid and let it cook for 15-20 minutes for until the chicken is tender and fully cooked and oil floats on surface. Add a little water if needed to cook.
4. Add the chopped fenugreek leaves and gently stir to mix well, taking care not to break the chicken pieces. Let it cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Khatti Dal/Sojni Ki Phalli Ki Patli Dal, Khushka/Roti for a filling delicious meal.

Luv,
Mona

Mazedaar Methi-Gosht ke Kofte

Listening and enjoying the song ‘Mere Zindagi me aaye ho..‘, from the Bollywood movie Armaan in my ipod, today I prepared this curry for dinner and am just waiting to have it. I love to listen to songs when I stay alone with my hubby gone for the work, while I do my house chores and the cooking.. Music helps me stay happy, I cling to it. I’m energized by it. I’m inspired by it. I can go on and on..

Spicy Curries are always yummy, no doubt in that. By spicy curries, I do not mean curries that are super hot to burn your mouth., what I really mean by spicy curries is masaaledaar salan, which are gravy based curries infused by a range of exotic Indian spices as the base. I am an ardent lover of spicy curries, and I am sure almost everyone in the whole world love spices and the beautiful flavours they add to a dish. This curry of Meaballs is one such and it is a favorite in my house. Its easier to prepare and extremely delicious along with Parathas or Naan to mop up the gravy.

Meatballs are called ‘Kofta‘ in Urdu. They are similar to Meatballs or Meat dumplings in the U.S. The other version of Kofte ka Salan, or meatball curry that I most usually prepare is Amchur-Harimirch Wale Kacche Gosht Ke Kofte, Meatballs in a hot and sour gravy

When I prepare meat balls I make them smaller in size, about 2 cm in diameter. The reason is, I believe, they get done perfectly. Many of my associates always make larger sized meatballs- approx 4 cm in diameter, and they are never well cooked, (remain raw, undone and undercooked in the centre). So, this trick that I learnt my MIL comes very handy to me.

I always prepare larger amounts of curries, portion and store them in the refrigerator for a later use. It saves lot of time.

This curry/Salan gets prepared in almost an hour time, and you can have it with Parathas or Naan, or Khushka/Plain Boiled Rice.

Mazedaar Methi Kofte – Meatballs in a gravy with Fenugreek leaves

To prepare Meat Balls

Ingredients:

Ground Lamb/Goat/Veal Meat (or) Boneless Lamb/Goat/Veal Meat Bite-Size pieces – 250 gms
Green Chillies – 3, small, slit
Cilantro – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Yellow Onion – 1, large, sliced
Canola Oil – 2 tbsp

Kacche Gosht Ke Kofte – Meatballs

Method:

-Pour oil into a pan at medium heat and add the sliced onions. Fry them till brown and crisp. Remove from oil, cool and reserve
-Now in a meat processor, add the fried onion slices, the slit green chillies, chopped coriander and mint leaves, salt, red chilli powder and the ground meat or cubed boneless meat pieces, whatever you are using and process till its all grinded into a smooth paste.

(Note:Make sure that the washed meat, whether you are using ground meat or meat pieces, is completely dry, or they will not hold shape later on)

-Now, take a little bit of meat paste at a time and slightly apply pressure and roll it between your palms untill soft, tight and round shaped. Arrange them on a plate.
-The meat balls are ready. Keep them aside.

TIP: To freeze meatballs ahead of time: You can prepare the meatballs and freeze them for future use.
Form meatballs, and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in the freezer. Once the meatballs are hard and well frozen, transfer them to a resealable plastic bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw and cook them in the curry.

To Prepare The Gravy –

Ingredients:

Canola Oil – 5 tbsp
Yellow Onion – 4, large, finely chopped
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 1/2 tsp
Yogurt – 6 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Dry Roasted Cumin Seed powder – 1/2 tsp
Dry Roasted Coriander seed powder – 1/2 tsp
Dry Roasted Dessicated Coconut – 1 tsp
Dry Roasted Groundnut Powder – 1 tsp
Methi/Fenugreek Leaves – 100 gms, very finely chopped

Mazedaar Methi Kofte – Meatballs in a gravy with Fenugreek leaves

Method:

-In a heavy bottom sauce pan at medium heat, fry the ginger garlic paste and add onions in the oil till light brown in colour.
-Add yogurt to it and give it a good stir. Cook it well till it starts leaving oil.
-Meanwhile wash the Methi/Funugreek leaves well, only the leaves, not the stems or flowers, chop them up very finely and reserve.
-Add the dry ingredients, the red chilli powder, salt, garam masala, the dry roasted cumin seed powder, coriander seed powder, coconut powder, groundnut powder, and mix well.
-After 3-5 minutes, remove from heat, cool the mixture and grind it to a paste.
-Pour back the grinded mixture to the saucepan and add the very finely chopped Methi/Fenugreek leaves and let them cook till they are soft.
-Add three glases of water to it and bring it to a boil.
-As soon as it boils once, simmer and slowly drop the earlier prepared meat balls one by one into it. Now do not stir at all for about 10 minutes. Half cover the lid and let it cook undisturbed at the low heat.
-Later, slowly stir the gravy and let it cook for 7-8 minutes more. You can add more water or let it cook for some more time on medium heat so that the water dries up and you achieve the consistency.
-The curry is ready and serve it hot with Parathas preferably or along with Rice.

Suggested accompaniments: Enjoy the curry along with Parathas or Naan, or Khushka/Plain Boiled Rice.

Luv,
Mona