The Green Blog Project had set me thinking on my own little contribution to taking this world, in to little baby steps towards a greener tomorrow and a pesticide free tomorrow. I had planted little methi seeds in my own little patio garden in my apartment and I got lovely green tender methi leaves. I had been wanting to use those tiny leaves and this was my chance. I had some leftover rice from dinner and I decided to make Alu Methi Pulav as an express preparation for my husband`s lunch for the morrow.
All the ingredients would ber definitely available in your pantry at all times. The only two spices that are a must are Star Anise and ShahiJeera or Somph. These cant be substituted as they constitute the base flavour for the whole pulav, of course apart from the methi.
1 medium onion sliced long.
2 Potatoes chopped to fine pieces.
3-4 Star Anise.
Small piece of Cinnamon.
1 tsp of Shahi Jeera or Somph.
1 Bay Leaf.
1/2 spoon Red Chilli Powder.
Garam Masala to taste.
Freshly chopped Methi seeds or 1 Tbsp of Kasuri Methi.
4-5 Cashews sliced in to halves.
Salt to taste.
Ghee for garnish.
Pop the chopped pieces of potatoes in to the microwave after sprinkling a little salt on them. Cook for 3 mins on HIGH. Set aside.
Take a wok or kadai and add 2 spoons of oil. Add the Star anise, shahijeera, cloves, cinnamon and cashew and allow to saute for a couple of seconds. The jeera and the anise give out a very delectable aroma.
Now add the chopped onions and saute for a few minutes until the onions turn a little pinkish brown.
Now add the semi cooked potatoes, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, garam masala and stir it all in quickly.
Allow a few more minutes for the spices to sink in to the potatoes.
Now add the chopped fresh methi/ kasuri methi and stir in well.
After a few more minutes, add some chopped cilantro and mix well.
Now add the cooked rice , more salt as required and gently mix it taking care not to break the rice particles.
Finish off by dolloping a spoon of ghee.
Serve HOT with raitha. Excellent option for LUNCH along with Raitha or just plain curd.
Venthaya Kuzhambu is a healthy quick preparation amma makes over the weekend after a month when I come home from the hostel. I would return home hungry for home cooked food and amma would pamper me with simple Venthaya Kuzhambu. Its quick, easy and utterly delicious. Since the main ingredient is only methi (fenugreek) the final taste is completely different from the regular preparations.
I remember fenugreek to be a very important ingredient for my grandfather who had blood sugar. Madurai amma would soak a poon of methi every night in water and he would drink it first thing in the morning. That helped to a large extent to keep his blood sugar at a controllable level. Fenugreek is also supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties and is also used in the treatment of reproductive disorders in women.
In this recipe you would be amazed at the flavour bursting out of a preparation with so few ingredients. ….Here it goes…
1 1/2 – 2 cups tamarind juice extracted.
3-4 red chillies
1 spoon of bengal gram.
1 1/2 spoons of methi seeds.
Salt according to taste.
A spoon of cooked toor dhal (Optional)
A spoon of rice flour.
Dry roast the fenugreek on a medium low flame on a kadai, until you smell the aroma of the seeds. Do not allow to brown too much. Powder in the mixer to a coarse powder and set aside.
In a kadai, add 2-3 spoons of oil and when its hot, add bengal gram, and 3-4 red chillies and allow to roast for a couple of seconds.
Now add the mustard and when it splutters, add the crushed curry leaves and immediately the tamarind juice.
Add salt, turmeric, ground methi seeds powder, hing and allow to slowly boil on a medium low flame.
After about 20 minutes or so, when the gravy has been reduced, and becomes a little thick, reduce the flame.
Mix 1/3 cup of water in the spoon of rice flour and mix briskly to dissolve clots. Also add the spoon of cooked toor dhal to bring it to a smooth homogenous consistency.
Pour this in to the kadai and mix well and allow to boil for a few more minutes. (Consistency should be as shown in the pic.)
Delicious Venthaya Kuzhambu is ready to be served with Pavakkai Fry and Appalam.
Venthaya Kuzhambu is served mixed with steaming hot rice, adding 1 spoon of ghee or gingely oil to enhance the flavours of the gravy, already spiced to perfection. Best with Appalam and Alu Fry or Pavakkai Fry. I always feel it tastes best the next day as the spices have soaked in te tamarind gravy all day long!!!