Many of you may be quite 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. These delicious flatbreads can be eaten with any Indian meal or as a snack.
Fresh 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 cannot find fresh methi leaves, feel free to use Kasuri methi. You can also use fresh baby spinach as a substitute (Palak Puri).
Pooris are a delicious deep-fried Indian bread and the addition of methi makes them even harder to resist.
METHI POORI (Fenugreek Flatbread)
2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
a few tbsp of all-purpose flour, as needed
1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves (methi)
salt to taste
¼ tsp ground coriander powder
¼ tsp ground cumin powder
pinch of asafetida (hing)
oil for deep frying
water as needed
Wash the fenugreek leaves and dry them thoroughly. Chop them finely and set aside until needed.
In a large mixing bowl, add the whole wheat flour, salt, asafetida, ground cumin and ground coriander. Mix together and slowly add the water while kneading until a soft dough is formed. If the dough is sticky, add a little all-purpose flour. Add the chopped methi leaves and carefully mix them into the dough.
Using a clean work surface sprinkled with some all-purpose flour, gently knead the dough and divide it equally into round balls (roughly ping pong ball size). At this point, you can use a poori machine (similar to a tortilla press) or a rolling pin to make the pooris. Roll them out evenly into round circles (4-5 inches in diameter). Heat a deep skillet with enough oil to deep fry. When hot, carefully add the pooris (2-3 at a time) and fry until golden brown. You may need to fry them in batches. Drain well and serve immediately with your favorite chutney and yogurt.