As I have mentioned earlier, about the soft corner I have for green leaves in my Cooking, goes a level up with this recipe. My top favorite herb is Methi (fenugreek leaves), followed by Palak(spinach), Parsley, Basil, Mint etc. Fenugreek leaves from time unknown have been a part of Asian cuisine, specially Indo- pak. Dried Fenugreek leaves also known as kasoori methi has been a source of flavor and aroma in most north indian gravies, always playing the supporting role backstage, only to enhance the taste of the main dish, like Butter chicken, Chicken tikka masala, Paneer masala, Palak paneer etc etc.
Here, I have brought the Methi leaves to center stage, to play the main role and given it the credits it deserves. Why should Palak paneer have all the fun? Hold your breath and welcome the star, Methi Paneer. After trial and error, to balance the slight bitterness that these fresh leaves carry, here is the final winning combination. Healthy and rich gravy base made of cashews and watermelon seed blend, just right to carry the royal "Methi leaves" without a hint of bitterness, topped with more richness from golden brown( homemade )cottage cheese. Fit for a king, serve hot with naan, roti or as side for rice.
The credit for putting off the bitterness goes to:-
1. The careful picking of the Methi leaves with tender thin stalk tips and avoid the rest of the thick stalk.
2. The thick Cashewnut and melon seeds paste, which sweetens the gravy in turn eliminating the bitterness from the leaves.
3. I have added the whey from the Paneer preparation to the gravy in place of water, which I guess added to its taste. (you could omit making paneer at home and very well use the store bought paneer). I will be posting the home made paneer sometime soon.
- Paneer- 500 gms
- Onion- 2 medium (grind to paste)
- Cashewnut- 20
- Chironji (watermelon seeds)- 2tbsp
- Kasoori Methi- 1 tbsp
- Oil- 6 tbsp
- Tomato Puree- 1 cup
- Coriander powder- 1 tsp
- Red Chilly powder- 1 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric-1/2 tsp
- Fresh Methi leaves- 2 cups(thick stalks removed) around 1 1/2 bunch
- Cream- 1 tbsp or milk- 2 tbsp
- 1Grind the cashew and chironji with little water to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
- 2Take a nonstick Wok or Kadai, add oil, put the Paneer cubes in and carefully fry it, by flipping it from one side to other till light golden on all sides. Take off on a kitchen towel keep aside.
- 3In the same Wok, add kasoori methi and onion paste and saute till it changes color.
- 4Add cashew and chironji paste, fry for 2 mins, add chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and saute till mixture leaves the sides and oil surfaces. (sprinkle water at intervals and stir if mixture sticks to the wok)
- 5Add tomato puree, stir for 2-3 mins. Stir in the fresh methi leaves. Add salt, stir for 5 mins.
- 6Add 1 cup water(I added the Paneer whey here), cook to a boil. Add cream or milk. Serve hot with roti or naan or steamed rice.