Wednesday, August 31, 2011

RECIPE: Murgh Methi (Chicken and Fenugreek Leaf Curry)

I was watching TV a couple of week's back and a cooking show was on. It was your typical cooking/travel show where the chef/cook goes somewhere exotic and cooks up food that poor people eat. This was certainly no different.

The Rajashtani people on the talking rectangle certainly looked poor. So the food must be good, right?

Sure thing. Two things stood out at me: yoghurt and fenugreek leaves.

I am well versed with yoghurt as an ingredient--going as far as using it on my speciality/daily dish of muesli with yoghurt--but I'd only ever used fenugreek in seed form. I enjoyed it in seed form, so what of the leaves? Huh, what of them? Are you silent because you are checking what of the fenugreek leaves?

But I digress (get back to me on that). Shockingly, Bondi Junction--normally the hub of culturally different food--was oddly devoid of fenugreek leaves when I was looking for them, so I got my trusty Indian spice/leaf supplier from work to hook me up with some. I then chucked said leaves with aforementioned yoghurt and made some stuff. There's slightly more to it than that.

Serves 6 with rice, mild-to-medium spice.

The Masala
- 1 T salt
- 1 large cinnamon quill
- 12 cardamom pods (the green variety, 3 of the black ones)
- 2 star anise
- 2 T cumin seeds
- 6 dried chillis
- 2 t fenugreek seeds
- 2 t black peppercorns
- 2 T chilli powder
- 4 cloves

Put that on an oven tray and into a moderate oven until you can smell the spices (5-10 mins if the oven is preheated).

Once cool, blend to a fine powder.

- 1 C fenugreek leaves

Blend them up into a powder.

- 1 bulb of garlic

Wrap it in foil and put it in a moderate oven for around 45 mins until it feels soft. Let it cool.

Once cool, cut the base off and squeeze out the delicious, gooey, roasted garlic.

The Other Stuff
- 1 handful of ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 onions, sliced.
- 3 T ghee
- 1 K chicken thigh fillets (or 1.5 K bone in)
- 1 K natural yoghurt (greek)
- 1 C peas (fresh are best but frozen are fine)
- 1 T sugar (caster or brown)

The cooking
1. Add the ghee, ginger, garlic, onions, masala. Cook over a medium heat until onions are translucent.
2. Add the chicken. Cook until white.
3. Add the yoghurt. Stir. Add the fenugreek leaves. Add the sugar.
4. Keep it over a low heat, stirring every now and then, until the chicken falls apart (around an hour). Add the peas after half an hour or so if fresh. If frozen, add 15 mins before you finish cooking. You can't really over cook this so don't worry about that.

Serve over rice with naan, obviously. With poor people around you, optionally.

I brought some in for my beloved spice merchant at work to get the word from an official Indian on my (fairly non-traditional) curry. He was a fan. Apparently, so were his housemates.

I think this may only be the beginning of this recipe. Further refinement could produce something incredible. At the moment it is merely "very good".

And there is so much more that can be done with fenugreek leaves (methi) that I'm yet to discover. Can't wait.

No comments: