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Nutritious and delicious

FENUGREEK (Methi/Vendya keerai) is an excellent leafy vegetable, well known for its medicinal properties. Eating it regularly reduces problems like stomach and digestive disorders, anaemia, respiratory infections and diabetes. The caloric count for 100 grams of fenugreek leaves is only 49.

There are two types of Fenugreek leaves extensively cultivated in India — large and small. The smaller variety is more prevalent in Chennai — coming in bunches with white roots and small green leaves on top. These tend to spoil quickly. One way to keep them fresh is to cut off 1/4 inch of the roots and scatter the leaves in a vessel. Cover with a lid and refrigerate till required (do not wash till the leaves are required for cooking. When washing, wash along with the remaining roots in several changes of water till absolutely clean.)

Fenugreek leaves sambar

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

Tuvar dhal 3/4 cup
Chopped fenugreek leaves 1 cup
Chopped spring onion 1 cup
Cooked cubed potatoes 1 cup
Slit green chillies 4
Dry red chillies 2
Tamarind the size of a large lemon
Ghee 2 tbsps
Jaggery powder 1 tbsp
Rasam or sambar powder 2 1/2 tsps
Salt 2 tsps
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Split black gram dhal 1 tsp
Hing powder 1/2 tsp

Method:

Cook the dhal with 1 1/2 cups of water in a pressure cooker. Churn till smooth and keep aside. Soak the tamarind in 1 1/2 cups of water, squeeze well and strain out the juice.

Heat the ghee in a vessel, add the mustard, red chillies, black gram dhal and hing powder. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the onions, fenugreek, potato and green chillies. Fry for a couple of minutes till you get an aroma. Remove and keep aside on a plate.

In the same vessel, pour the tamarind juice and boil it with salt and jaggery powder. When the raw smell of tamarind disappears, add the cooked dhal, the fried items and rasam or sambar powder. Boil till the sambar is reasonably thick. Remove and serve hot with rice or rotis.

* * *

Methi mutter curry (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

Chopped onions 4
Chopped tomatoes 3
Chopped fenugreek leaves 1 cup
Cream 1 cup
Cooked peas 1 cup
Beaten curds 1/4 cup
Slit green chillies 2
Ghee 3 tabs
Oil 3 tabs
Cashew nuts 2 tbsps
Chilli powder 1 1/2 tsps
Salt 1 1/4 tsps
Ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Garam masala powder 1/4 tsp

Method:

Cook three onions and cashewnuts for five minutes with 1/4 cup of water. When cool, grind with the tomatoes and ginger garlic paste into a fine paste. Add 1/4 tsp salt to the fenugreek. Keep aside for five minutes. Then squeeze out the juice (This removes the bitterness).

Fry in one tablespoon of ghee and a tablespoon of oil the remaining onion, the green chillies and the fenugreek till the onion turns light gold in colour. Keep aside. Heat the remaining oil and ghee in a casserole dish, or a kadai. Add the ground masala, chilli powder and garam masala powder, and fry till it is well roasted and the oil separates. Add the curd a little at a time, frying all the time, till it is well incorporated. Add the peas, sugar, salt and a cup of water. Simmer till the gravy is thick. Add the fried fenugreek mixture and beaten cream. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Serve hot with rotis.

* * *

Fenugreek gram flour cutlet (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

Gram flour 2 cups
Hot water 2 cups
Chopped fenugreek 1 1/2 cups
Chopped onions 2
Chopped ginger 1 inch
Chopped green chillies 3
Oil 4 tbsps
Salt 1 1/4 tsps
Chilli powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp

Method:

Heat the oil in pan, add the onion, the chillies and the ginger and fry till the onion turns light gold in colour. Add the flour, salt, chilli, and turmeric and fry on a slow fire till the flour is well roasted. Lower the flame, add the hot water and stir till the batter is thick and lump free. Stir in the fenugreek, and stir for a minute more. Pour and level on a greased tray. When cold, cut into squares. Shallow fry these squares with ghee or oil, till golden and crisp. Serve with tomato sauce or any chutney of your choice.

* * *

Potato and fenugreek dry curry (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

Cooked potatoes 8 (large)
Chopped fenugreek 1 1/2 cups
Oil 2 tbsps
Ghee 2 tbsps
Slit green chillies 2
Chilli powder 1 1/2 tsps
Salt 1 1/4 tsps
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp

Method:

Peel and cube the potatoes. Heat the oil and ghee in a kadai. Add the potatoes, salt, chillies, chilli powder and turmeric. Fry on a slow flame, till the potatoes turn golden in colour. Add the fenugreek and fry for five more minutes. Remove and serve hot with rice and ghee.

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