Many of you may be unfamiliar with fenugreek, but it is quite common in Indian cooking. Fenugreek is used as both an herb (fresh fenugreek leaves) and also as a spice (fenugreek seeds). The leaves have a wonderful and unique flavor. Known as “methi” in India, these small leaves have a very slight bitter flavor and a fragrant aroma. The seeds are used in the preparation of Indian pickles, spice mixtures (masalas) and curry pastes. Fenugreek seeds are also known to aid in the digestion process.
Fresh fenugreek or methi leaves are available in most Indian grocery stores. They are also available in a dried form (known as Kasuri methi) and can also be found in the frozen section.
If you are unable to find fresh methi leaves, you can make this dish using baby spinach leaves as a substitute.
METHI CHICKEN (Chicken & Fenugreek Leaves Curry)
1 lb of boneless skinless chicken cut into 1” pieces
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves, (or you can use chopped baby spinach)
3-4 dried red chilies, to taste
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin powder
½ tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste
¼ cup cream or yogurt
2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onions and stir fry until just slightly golden brown. At this point, add the ginger and garlic. Stir until fragrant and then add the dried red chilies. After a minute or so, add the fenugreek leaves. Stir well and allow the leaves to wilt. Now, add all of the spices (turmeric, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder, garam masala and salt). Stir well to combine and allow the spices to fry in the oil for a few minutes.
Now add the chicken pieces, stir to coat well and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes with a little water (½ cup or so if needed). Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-6 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked yet moist and tender. Finish the dish with a little cream (or yogurt), garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve with Basmati rice or fresh rotis.
Feel free to make this dish using lightly browned paneer cubes or boiled eggs (halved lengthwise) instead of chicken.