Have my vegetarian 20-Minute Aloo Methi curry on the table faster than it takes to order a takeaway! This Indian potato and fenugreek leaf curry, also know as Aloo Methi ki Sabji is a weeknight staple in my home alongside soft roti.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve, including how to prepare potatoes that’ll melt in your mouth, as well as how to clean fresh methi (fenugreek leaves).
… was a disaster! Funnily enough, it was also a complete accident because I didn’t set out to make methi anything that day.
My mother was in India with my masi (her sister) so I was home with my brother, dad and Bapu (dad’s bother) who was visiting.
With dad and Bapu in our family newsagents all day, my 11-year old self thought it would be nice to prepare dinner for when they got home. My plan was to make Bhaji and Rotli, a simple curry of spinach leaves and chapatis to go with it.
First problem: We didn’t have any fresh spinach. Never mind, I thought. I’d seen my mum make Bhaji with both frozen and tinned spinach before and it was always great. To the freezer I marched.
I pulled a bag of the solid leafy greens from the freezer and got to work. I chopped the garlic, did a tadka of cumin seeds, asafoetida and fresh chillies. It was going famously. I felt like a young Tarla Dalal. Finally, a dash of salt and a little taste test…
The spoonful of Bhaji went into my mouth and then immediately came back out. Wretched. It was as bitter as Cobra Kai’s sensei Kreese in The Karate Kid.
I dug the packet of frozen spinach out of the freezer and re-read the label. ‘METHI BHAJI‘. My bubblegum brain had made a solo fenugreek leaf curry!
If this happened to me today, I’d simply chuck in a load of cooked potatoes but when I was first starting out, my instinct was to cut my losses and make something else.
My dad, Bapu and brother came home and sat down to the plan B Kadhi and rotli I had made last minute (Mrs Doubtfire style). They ate the methi bhaji, too. Dad and Bapu said it was great, my brother told me I was “a plonker”.
Did they eat it out of courtesy? Probably. Did that still mean everything to my novice cook self? Absolutely.
I recommend visiting your local fruit and vegetable market. South Asian food shops and greengrocers will certainly have bunches of fresh methi.
Many large supermarkets now stock fresh methi in their ethnic produce sections.
How to prepare and clean fresh fenugreek leaves (methi)
Start by picking through the methi. Pluck off only the leaves and young stems. The thick stems are edible but I don’t tend to use them for curries like this since they require long cooking and can be tough to chew. Pick out any methi that looks less than fresh, too — large bunches will usually have a few of these.
Thoroughly wash fresh methi in plenty of cold water, either under running water or in a large basin or bowl. If you use a bowl, change the water 3-4 times to ensure all surface dirt, etc has been removed.
Drain the methi leaves in a colander or sieve.
Finely chop the methi leaves. They are now ready to use in this recipe for Aloo Methi.
Follow all the steps in the how-to above. Ensure the methi leaves are completely dry before packing into a freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for 6-8 months.
Yes. Fenugreek is the English name for Methi (its’ name in Hindi, amongst other South Asian languages).
No. I don’t recommend replacing the fresh methi in this recipe with dried. The flavours differ a great deal. Dried methi is extremely potent and fresh has a mild, grassier flavour, so they cannot be used interchangeably.
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My recipe includes juliennes of fresh turmeric for both a golden colour and a bright, citrusy flavour. They balance the earthy, caramel-bitterness of the fenugreek, while the potatoes make it a meal.
My cooking medium of choice may be an unconventional one, but it s a fast and easy method: Microwave!
I simply wash my potatoes, prick the skins with a fork and them microwave for 8 minutes or so, until they’re soft inside. The cooking time will vary depending on your microwave so keep an eye on them.
Once they’ve cooled, I peel them (keep the skins on if you prefer) with my fingers. They’re really easy to peel because the potatoes shrink slightly and the skin becomes loose.
Any variety of potato will work in this recipe, although floury potatoes for baking such as Maris Piper or King Edward produce the best results.
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