Come winter and the fragrance of methi wafts in Indian homes. Fresh leaves are available in the market. These can be cleaned and stored so that you can use it over the week for a variety of dishes like methi paratha, pulao and aaloo methi or daal methi subzis.
The main hindrance that stops people from making this dish is cleaning the bundle of methi. It is a bit of a time taking task for sure but there isn’t an easy way out. The one way to make this task a bit easy is to do it a little late in the night when you don’t have distractions and a good movie on the TV or Amazon for company. Mumbai women are famous for buying methi on their way back from work and pluck the leaves on their way home in the local train. They even get a hand from fellow commuters making it easier for them. The leaves are plucked and ready (and sometimes even cut) in the train itself and all she needs to do is whip up a quick meal when she gets home.
Methi rice is made by mixing cooked rice with sauted and spiced methi leaves. Methi pulao is made by cooking the methi leaves along with the rice so that the rice is infused with the methi flavour. Both work great for tiffin lunches.
- Methi leaves 1 cup
- Rice 2 cups ( Long-grain Basmati )
- Water 4 cups or as needed
- Ginger-Garlic paste 1 teaspoon
- Onion large , 1
- Cloves 6
- Black peppercorns 6
- Bay leaf 1 or 2
- Green cardamom 2
- Cinnamon stick 1 inch
- Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon
- Red chilli powder 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
- Oil 2 tablespoons
- Salt to taste
Wash and soak the rice for 1 hour.
Wash the methi leaves very well. Chop them finely.
Slice the onion.
Take a pressure cooker and add the oil on low flame. Add the cumin seeds, cloves, bay leaves, green cardamom, cinnamon stick and black peppercorns.
Put in the sliced onion and fry it till light colour change.
Now, add the Ginger-Garlic paste into saute till the raw smell goes away.
Squeeze out the water from the methi leaves and add them as well
On low flame, stir fry till the leaves look well fried and colour too darkens.
Drain the rice and add to the methi mixture.
Season with salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder.
Add double the quantity of water as compared to the rice.
Turn the flame to high and put on the cooker lid.
Let it cook for 3 whistles on full flame and one more on low flame.
Cooking time depends on the age and variety of the rice, hence judge accordingly.
After the pressure releases, open the lid and with a fork, fluff up the rice.
Serve hot with curd etc as it is quite flavorful on its own.
Methi leaves need to be washed really well before you cook them. Instead of washing them under running water, it is best to soak them fully in a deep bottom vessel, rinse and then remove them from it. You can see the mud and dirt particles collecting in the bottom. You’ll have to repeat the process at least thrice or until you see the water has become clear. Don’t throw the dirty / muddy water away. Use it instead to water your house plants.
It is best to chop the methi leaves only after you’ve washed them thoroughly. You can use a chopper for this or do it the regular way. Some methi leaves often leave a very bitter taste which may ruin the dish. To be a little extra careful you can sprinkle some salt over the washed and cut methi leaves and leave it for 10 minutes. Then you can crush the methi leaves in your hand to drain out the salt water. This water takes away the bitterness in the leaves.