Thursday, June 19, 2008

Aloo Methi (Potatoes with fenugreek leaves)

I had never known the simple pleasure of harvesting my own vegatables and herbs until a few weeks back ! I had planted methi seeds in my vegetable bed, by just sprinkling a handful of the seeds in a small area. Soon, I watched and gloated as the seeds sprouted and the shoots reared their heads skywards ! How I waited for them to grow so that I could pick the leaves and take them into the kitchen !! I didn't have to wait too long...At the time of sowing the seeds, in my excitement, I didn't realize that there were too many seeds in the given area and found to my dismay that the shoots were fighting for space, nutrients and sunlight...When I saw that unless I harvested, the plants would soon meet an untimely demise, I picked the tender leaves and shoots and brought them inside...
Even though I wasn't able to maintain the plants for a longer duration, I was able to get enough leaves for me to prepare two dishes and that is saying a lot ! It was so gratifying to be able to grow something and be able to cook with it !
Below is my version of Aloo Methi, a very simple, no-frills and earthy dish....Hope you like it.


2 medium sized potatoes
1 bunch of fenugreek leaves
2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp red chile powder (cayenne pepper)
pinch of asafoetida
dash of lemon / lime juice

1. Peel the potatoes. If you prefer to keep the skin on (potato skins have a high nutrition value, so its recommended that you keep them on)...just make sure you scrub the potatoes really well before using them)
2. Dice the potatoes into small, equal sized pieces. Wash the fenugreek leaves thoroughly o get the dirt out of the leaves, Chop them finely and reserve.
3. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds and allow the seeds to splutter. Add the asafoetida at this point.
4. Add the turmeric, cumin powder, the coriander powder, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix thoroughly.
5. Drop in the potatoes and turn with a wooden spoon until potato pieces are covered with the oil-spice mixture.
6. Add about a quarter cup of water, put a lid on and reduce the heat to medium-low.
7. After 10 minutes, add the chopped fenugreek leaves and mix well. Add a little bit more water, if required. (Only add as much water as is required to keep the potatoes from sticking to the pan. Do make sure to cover the pan when you add the water, so that the potatoes get cooked due to the steam)
8. Once the potatoes are tender, squirt the lemon juice on top and serve as a side dish with rice.

* Addition of a lot of water will make the potatoes mushy and it will no longer be (as Alton Brown says) "Good Eats" :-)
* If you do not have fresh fenugreek leaves, you can also use kasoori methi instead. You might have to add a tad bit more water.
* This preparation can be had with chapaties / tortillas too, but I find it a bit dry with chapaties.
* Makes a good sandwich filler !

All in all a good recipe to have.

Nuritional Facts on Potatoes:
* A large baked potato, including the skin, has 278 calories, out of which only 3 calories are from fat.
* The potato , as well as the skin is a great source of Vit. C, Vit. B6, copper, manganese, potassium and fiber. It is also high in iron and protein content.
* Potato skins contain a variety of phytonutrients which help in maintaining the cells of the body.

Nutritional Facts on Fenugreek:
* Fenugreek or methi leaves have a very high iron content.
* Methi seeds have nutritional as well as medicinal values. The seeds can help relieve sore throat,cough, hyper-acidity and burning sensation in stomach.
* The usual way to consume methi in medicine format is to make a tea with the seeds and have it with a little honey.
* Methi seeds can also be ground and used as a remedy for dandruff and for making hair shinier and silkier.