First, let me admit that I am a total methi (fenugreek) freak. I always tend to add a tbsp of dry / fresh methi leaves (whichever in stock) in almost every north Indian recipe that I make. Though these leaves are said to be slightly on the bitter side, I love them for the flavor & aroma that it adds to the recipes.
Apart from its medicinal properties for treating diabetes, methi leaves are also known to increase lactation in nursing mothers. I was on balanced diet (pathiya samayal) during the first 2 months of my postpartum (with both the deliveries), and my mom used to prepare "methi leaves - moong dal" kootu (stew) for atleast 3-4 times a week. Surprisingly, I have never gotten bored of these teeny-tiny leaves. Probably, I am one among the "not-so-common" few who actually enjoys pathiya samayal!
Well, that 's just me. VJ is not very fond of methi leaves. Every time, I try some recipe using methi leaves, he neither complains nor appreciates. But, methi pulao definitely came in as a surprise for him. He loved the pulao, especially for that extra zing in the flavor from methi leaves. He suggested a small change though - to add fried cashews for texture. "Sure, you got it next time dear!"
Methi pulao indeed tasted great with cool cucumber raitha - finely chopped pieces of cucumber mixed with yogurt & spices - Yum!!
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 30-35 mins
Cook time - 20 mins
Serves - 3-4
Rice - 1.5 cups
Fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves - 2 cups (packed)
Mint leaves - 1-2 tbsp (finely chopped)
Onion - 1 no (big sized)
Garlic - 6-7 pods (minced)
Green chillies - 2 no (slit open vertically)
Tomato - 3 nos (medium sized)
Oil - 3 tbsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Cardamom - 2 pods
Cloves - 4 nos
Bay leaf - 1 no
Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Star anise - 1 no
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Wash and soak rice in water for about 30 mins. Set aside.
Separate methi leaves from its stem and soak the leaves in about 2 cups of water with a tsp of salt. Set aside.
In a pressure cooker, heat 3 tbsp of oil. When hot, add all of the ingredients under "dry masala" and fry for 2-3 mins until a nice aroma comes out of it.
Add chopped onion, minced garlic, slit green chillies and fry until onion is soft.
To this, add methi leaves & mint leaves and stir for about a min until the leaves wilt. Add chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and give it a mix. Let the tomatoes cook for about 2-3 mins until soft.
Add rice & water (use 1:1 ratio if rice is soaked in water for atleast 30 mins otherwise use 1:1.5 ratio). Adjust salt and pressure cook for 1 whistle. Let it cool, and fluff it up with a fork.
Enjoy this hot & tasty methi pulao with cool raita!