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Sunday, 2 February 2020

My beloved methi

What colour comes to your mind when you hear the words fresh vegetables? Of course green, the colour of those super healthy green leafy vegetables.

Green veggies come in such a great variety of shapes and sizes, that initially I had difficulty in differentiating one from another. There are some green vegetables like chandan batwa which show their face only once or twice in the entire year. Then there are ran-bhajyas which are actually weeds. To name a few they are machul, ambushi and aghada (you will find it everywhere once it rains. It forms a part of patri meaning basket of leaves offered to Ganpati on ganesh chaturthi).

'Which vegetable is this?' I would naively ask the seller and she would first laugh at my ignorance and then share the name. Her innocent, full teeth laughter hidden behind the wrinkles of vagaries of being poor vegetable grower. I am yet to discern the secret behind it.

There are umpteen methods of cooking green veggies. I personally prefer the curry types over dry ones. Also, among curry types I love those which are prepared using buttermilk or curd. Chakwat is my all time favourite.

They have their peculiar characteristics too. Palak is salty in taste. No any salt is required to be added to it while cooking. Ambat chuka, machul and ambushi are naturally sour. I feel that the art of cooking green veggies is that the masalas and the other accompaniments that you add mustn't kill the original taste of the leaves. In fact most of them don't require any masala at all.

I also liked koshimbir made of onion leaves. The cook at my hostel mess would prepare it. No matter how much I tried I couldn't replicate the taste at home.

Then there is lasun pat or lasun leaves. I can't describe its heavenly piquant sourish taste in words.

Of all the green vegetables palak and methi are the king and queen respectively. Here I am sharing with you two of my favourite methi recipes.

Dahi methi
Ingredients – Finely chopped methi leaves one cup, chopped garlic two spoons, four green chillies, mustard seeds, a pinch of hing, besan two spoons, 3/4th cup curd, salt, two spoon oil.
Heat the oil and add mustard to it. Add green chillies, garlic and fry for a while. Then add methi leaves to it. Keep stirring. Mix dahi and besan and add it. Let it boil. Thereafter, add the hing and salt.

Methi Dholana
Ingredients – Methi two cups, two spoons finely crushed groundnuts, one lemon, one onion, red chillies powder, haldi, oil, hing, jira.
Finely chop the methi leaves. Add crushed groundnuts, finely chopped onion, chilly powder and salt to it. Add lime juice as well. Thereafter, heat a spoonful of oil in the tadka pan. Add jira, haldi and hing. Add this seasoning to the aforesaid mixture and stir well. Remember this is a form of salad and the leaves are not to be cooked. Just the seasoning will have to heated and added. Try this recipe. I am sure you will fall head over heels in love with it.

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