Methi Chaman

40 Mins
Serves 4 people
Author: Rajni Ram
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Methi Chaman is an aromatic and flavourful dish from the Kashmiri Cuisine from India. Kashmiri cuisine offers not only non vegetarian dishes, that are popular, but also some exotic ones like Methi Chaman, Kashmiri Rajma, Sheermal, and more. There are different typesof cuisine within Kashmir, and this particular dish originates from the Kashmiri Pandit cuisine. Kashmiri food makes use of Mustard oil,and many aromatic spices like Cloves, Cinnamon, Black Cardamom etc;

Methi Chaman is a dish I have relished mostly at restaurats. The main reason I didn’t make it at home is  the use of Mustard oil in this dish. I don’t digest mustard oil very well, and so I have always been reluctant. But then I thought why not make it in regular refined oil and enjoy. I must say I don’t regret this a bit. Of course Mustard oil gives the dish, its distinct taste and flavour, but none the less this one was delicious too.

The name Methi Chaman stands for Fenugreek and Paneer(Cottage cheese) respectively. So, this dish is mainly a Fenugreek leaves curry in which the cottage cheese has been simmered. Chaman in Kashmiri language means Paneer. Since Fenugreek/Methi leaves are bitter to taste, some Spinach/Palak leaves are also added to neutralize the bitterness. Surprisingly, this dish doesn’t call for tomatoes.

While you are here I request you to have a look at the other recipes on the blog like- One Pot Lauki Wadiyan Curry, Rajma, Choley, Palak Paneer, Matar Paneer, Miloni Baby Corn Subji, Bombay Potatoes and more…

Ingredients

  1. Methi leaves/Fenugreek Leaves 1/2 bunch(200 gm approx) finely chopped
  2. Palak/Spinach leaves 1/2 bunch (200 gm approx) finely chopped
  3. Paneer/Cottage cheese 200 gm
  4. Bay Leaf 1
  5. Cloves 3-4
  6. Black Cardamom 1
  7. Onion 1 medium, finely chopped
  8. Garlic 4 cloves finely chopped
  9. Dry Ginger Powder/ Sonth Powder 1/2 tsp
  10. Green chillies 2-3
  11. Red Chilli Powder (optional) 1 tsp
  12. Saunf Powder/Fennel powder 1 tsp
  13. Coriander Powder 1/2 tsp
  14. Cumin Powder 1 tsp
  15. Cream/Malai 2 tbsp
  16. Sugar 1/2tsp
  17. Garam Masala Powder1/2tsp
  18. Oil for sauteing( use Mustard oil if you can) 2 tbsp
  19. Kasoori Methi 1 tsp
  1. In a Pan take the Methi (Fenugreek) leaves and Palak(spinach), pour 2 cups water, add 1/4 tsp salt and bring it to a boil. Put off the flame as soon as the water starts boiling. Cover the pan and let the greens stay in it for 10 minutes. After 10 mins, save a little of the soaked water, and drain the rest. Put the blanched leaves in another bowl, and pour ice cold water over them. Let the leaves cool completely.
  2.  Now drain all the water from the leaves, and put them in a blender,along with the green chillies , and blend to smooth but not very fine puree. Pour oil to the same pan and heat. Cube the Paneer, and fry them until you get a nice golden colour. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
  3. Now to the same oil(add more if required), add the Bay leaf, Cumin seeds, Cloves,Black cardamom, Cardamom,and fry for 30 seconds. Add the Garlic, followed by Onions and saute.
  4. When the onions start turning brown, add all the spice powders- dry ginger powder, cumin powder, fennel powder, and sugar, and fry it in the oil.
  5. Now add the Methi-palak puree to the sauteed onions and mix well. Add salt, the reserved water from the blanch(about 1/2 cup), and the Paneer pieces. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on low flame. Add red chilli powder(optional), if using.
  6. Open the lid,and give the mixture a good stir. add the cream,and the Garam masala powder, simmer for 2  minutes more,and switch off the flame. Garnish with some Kasoori Methi. Serve hot with Phulkas, Parathas,or Rice.

In a Pan take the Methi (Fenugreek) leaves and Palak(spinach), pour 2 cups water, add 1/4 tsp salt and bring it to a boil. Put off the flame as soon as the water starts boiling. Cover the pan and let the greens stay in it for 10 minutes. After 10 mins, save a little of the soaked water, and drain the rest. Put the blanched leaves in another bowl, and pour ice cold water over them. Let the leaves cool completely. Now drain all the water from the leaves, and put them in a blender,along with the green chillies , and blend to smooth but not very fine puree. Pour oil to the same pan and heat. Cube the Paneer, and fry them until you get a nice golden colour. Remove and drain on absorbent paper. Now to the same oil(add more if required), add the Bay leaf, Cumin seeds, Cloves,Black cardamom, Cardamom,and fry for 30 seconds. Add the Garlic, followed by Onions and saute. When the onions start turning brown, add all the spice powders- dry ginger powder, cumin powder, fennel powder, and sugar, and fry it in the oil. Now add the Methi-palak puree to the sauteed onions and mix well. Add salt, the reserved water from the blanch(about 1/2 cup), and the Paneer pieces. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on low flame. Add red chilli powder(optional), if using. Open the lid,and give the mixture a good stir. add the cream,and the Garam masala powder, simmer for 2  minutes more,and switch off the flame. Garnish with some Kasoori Methi. Serve hot with Phulkas, Parathas,or Rice.

Notes:

  1. The original dish calls for Mustard oil.If you are tolerant to it, I recommend using it for best results.
  2. Blanching the leaves and transferring them toice cold water is an important step, to maintain the green colour. So I recommend not skipping that step.
  3. I usually do not fry paneer for my other Paneer recipes. But for this recipe I have done so. This is because, in this recipe the Paneer is cooked in the gravy,whereas in other dishes, it ismostly added towards the end.

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