Methi Matar Malai is popular North Indian gravy dish made with fresh Fenugreek leaves and green peas in a creamy luscious curry. It is an 'exotic' dish very commonly seen on the menus of Indian restaurants as well as in parties/weddings etc. I call it 'exotic' because of two reasons. First, we assume it is too tedious to make at home, and second, when we hear Malai (cream) we start visualizing the calorie bar and consequently rate it as a luxury meal. But in today's post I'll be sharing my version of this yummy dish. Out of my fondness for this dish I gave it a pet name M-cube (M3).
This dish is definitely high on the calorie front but that's what makes it even more delicious. Regarding the other other two ingredients - Methi (Fenugreek) and Green peas, well, we all know their high nutrition value. So I tell myself its a balanced dish and doesnt hurt to make it once in a while. It's a dish with very few spices but with strong fenugreek flavor that gets nicely balanced with the creamy texture of this gravy.
There are couple of ways I make this gravy. The variation usually lies in the thickening agent I use to make this gravy. One is a combination of cream and cashew paste, the other being cream and a mixture of cornflour and milk. Both versions taste absolutely delicious. The cornflour version can be used if you want to control or reduce the cream/calories. I like to add some dry fenugreek leaves too to intensify the flavor. Now you don't have to wait visiting a restaurant when your taste buds crave for M-cube. You will soon have this on a regular menu once you try it at home. Its seriously that good and easy to make.
Now to the recipe...
1 cup green peas (I used frozen peas)
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds (zeera)
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 1/2 tsp green chilli paste (or use 2-3 green chillies finely chopped)
1 tsp Amchur (Dry Mango) powder (available at any Indian grocery stores)
1/2 cup of cream
1 tbsp Oil
1/8 tsp black pepper powder
salt to taste
8-10 cashews soaked in 1/4 cup warm milk (or 1 tsp cornflour dissolved in 1 cup of milk)
1/4 tsp garam masala (optional)
1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves crushed between palms (optional)
Boil fresh fenugreek leaves in hot water till soft, drain and add to cold water to stop them from discoloring. Once cool, drain and chop them finely. Boiling them prior will help to reduce the bitterness of fenugreek leaves.
Now add the chopped fenugreek and stir for 5 mins.
As soon as the fenugreek has mixed well you will get its aroma which is your signal to add the green peas, dry mango powder,salt and pepper . Mix well, cover to cook for another 5 - 7 mins.
Grind the cashew and milk until you get a smooth paste. Add the cream and cashew paste (or milk with cornflour mixture) bring it to a boil and let it simmer till you get a thick consistency of this creamy gravy. Add water or milk to get the gravy of the consistency you like. Finally finish it with some garam masala and dry fenugreek leaves.
- The alternative to cashew paste is just mix cornflour in cold milk and add that to the gravy. This should help thicken the gravy. You can use less cream in this case to reduce the calories. There will be a slight difference to taste but its not remarkably noticeable. I have tried it with both the options and both taste equally good.
- If make this gravy ahead of time, it will thicken as it sits. In which dilute it with water or milk, heat and then serve.
- I have used frozen peas which were soft and didn't require much time to cook. In case you are using fresh peas I would suggest boiling them before or adding them with the onions and cooking for some extra time.
- You can also use frozen methi, in which case skip the boiling part.
- I prefer to keep this gravy white but you could add turmeric if you like.
That's it, our delicious,creamy and luscious Methi Matar Malai is ready. Serve it hot with Naan, hot chapati, paratha or any other Indian bread of your choice. Enjoy!!