I have been in love with green leafy vegetables ever since I was able to distinguish between vegetables. Be it the ocassionally visible, glorious gongura, the adorable amaranth (thota koora), the fragrant fenugreek greens (methi / menthi koora) or the scrumptious spinach (palak /pala koora). Anything my mom prepared with them, I used to enjoy. Here, our only Indian acquaintances have been fenugreek leaves and spinach. Several years back, occasionally I could lay my hands on gongura and thotakoora. Not any more. The only times, I see them now are on the wonderful Indian food blogs.
For this month's Jihva, I pushed till the end to see if I could get some gongura or thotakoora. I went on several futile, shopping trips till yesterday and I had to rely on my old favorite methi for good. Coming to methi leaves, they are a bunch of special kind. Those pretty, aromatic leaves can add special zing to any dish, they are a part of. The signature fragrance, when cooked could never go unnoticed.
Apart from the pappu I prepare, I make use of them in preparing a nutritious and wonderful dish, Methi - Aloo Bhath. It is a simple, fulfilling meal any time, any day. For a change, I have used rice vermicelli / sevai instead of rice, in my regular recipe.
Rice vermicelli is sold at Indian grocers or Asian food aisles in supermarkets. I am recently buying (Thailand product), Erawan brand rice vermicelli which comes in one pound package. It contains 3 coils of vermicelli strands. I used half of one of those coils.
Sevai / Rice vermicelli - See above
Methi (fenugreek) leaves - 2 cups or a big bunch
Potatoes, peeled & chopped into small cubes - 1 cup
Green peas - 1/4 cup
Vangibhath Powder (homemade or use MTR brand) - 2 Tbsp
Oil - 4 Tbsp
Cashews - 1 Tbsp (Optional)
Chana dal - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Lemon Juice (Optional)
I always use fresh methi leaves. Don't be tempted to use the frozen variety when it comes to methi leaves. In sheer greediness to earn money, the companies which sell these leaves are adding the stems too, which makes the dish bitter. Pluck the leaves from methi stems. Throw away the stems. Wash the leaves and chop them roughly.
Heat oil in a pan. Add chanadal, urad dal and mustard seeds. When the dals start turning red and mustard seeds start popping, add cashews if using and curry leaves. Saute for a few seconds, add potato cubes and methi leaves, stir and close the lid. Turn down the heat to lowest setting and cook them till potatoes are tender. By the time, methi leaves would have wilted and would have released their wonderful aroma. Now add vangibhath powder and salt. Fry for a minute and add the cooked sevai. Stir the mixture until the vermicelli is uniformly coated with vangibhath powder.
Squeeze a bit of lemon juice before serving. (Optional)
My entry for Mahanandi's JFI - Greens and Saffron Trail's WBB, hosted together by Indira of Mahanandi.
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