Monday, July 31, 2006

Methi chana (Chickpea gravy with fenugreek greens)

I was inspired to make methi chana when I read Garam Masala's recipe for fenugreek chickpeas. The recipe is pretty much hers, with a few tweaks. The fact that the recipe doesnt call for onions was quite intriguing, because onions and garlic are integral to most of the things I make (not cakes, though. Honest!).

Of course I've eaten no-garlic-no-onion food and enjoyed it one heck of a lot but it was always made by someone else - usually professionals! Theoretically I was aware that it is possible to make aromatic, tasty dishes that dont contain onions... but thus far I hadnt tried it myself.

As an added bonus, I love chickpeas, and I love methi - what's not to try, right?

Seeing isnt believing in some cases. Making is. And y'all know what? I made it! And I believe! I've seen the light! I BELIEVE!

This recipe is for you, ma.

Recipe for:
Methi chana


2 cups fresh fenugreek leaves (grind this coarsely)
1 can (440gm) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp ghee (I'd advocate using ghee, its fragrance is essential!)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
1/2 inch stick cinnamon
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 green chillies, chopped finely
1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) - optional
3/4 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
2 tomatoes - blanched, de-skinned and chopped
Amchur (dry mango powder) or tamarind paste, to taste for desired sourness
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves


1. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds for 30 seconds. Cool and pound into a powder using a mortar and pestle. Reserve.

2. In a pan, heat the ghee, add the green chillies and mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds have popped, briefly fry the dried kasuri methi (15 seconds or so) then add the chopped tomatoes and fry till they become soft.

3. Add the coarsely ground raw methi leaves and mix well. Add 1/2 cup water and the powdered masala, and bring to a gentle simmer till the methi is cooked.

4. Now add the chickpeas, amchur or tamarind paste, turmeric powder, asafoetida and garam masala, and mix again. Add salt to taste, then pour in 1-1/2 cups water.

5. Simmer the chana till the gravy comes together. Crush some of the chickpeas to thicken the gravy.

If required, mix 2 tbsp gram flour in 4 tbsp water and add it to the gravy. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Serve hot over rice or with chapaties, puris.


Menu Today said...

I Liked this recipe without onion. I will try it out soon.Thanx for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi shammi -- your last couple of methi posts have had me craving it terribly! Usually can find it in a few stores locally. Not lately. I'm going to have to start sprouting my own cause I'd really like to try this one :)

Suman Varadaraj said...

Hi Shyamala,

I can't tell you how enormously I enjoy your blog - made more enjoyable by your sense of humour. I have one question for you: do methi leaves not turn (more) bitter when ground? I don't know why I thought so....

Anonymous said...

Foodietwoshoes, you are absolutely right - methi DOES turn more bitter when ground. But I kinda like the bitterness... and it wasnt overwhelming in this dish, just slightly there :) I guess I should have mentioned that in the recipe as a caution, but it didnt enter my mind!

PS. Thanks for the very kind compliments :)

Unknown said...

It's nice Shammi. I'm like you, in thinking that onion and garlic, MUST be there in every savoury dish, but something like this is a good change-

Sagar Kar said...

I was planning to try out this dish. Wondering where do I get methi leaves? Does walmart have them?