I always hated all the weird green leafy things that my mom religiously included in atleast one meal of the day. It din’t matter if the greens were all different and tasted unique, just the fact that it was greens, was enough to make us wring our faces in disgust. We gave it a combined names of ‘Soppu’ which literally means ‘Greens’ in Kannada and left it at that. Methi or Fenugreek leaves was maybe the general of the green army. The fact that it was bitter elevated it to the hate list pretty quickly. Yes, it’s healthy and a fantastic source of Iron, but try getting that into our little brains. Now that my brain is slightly bigger (Ok, my head got bigger, fine?) I may have developed a taste for it….Gasp! (Don’t tell my mom!). Actually aging has a strange effect on the palate. You tend to appreciate other tastes apart from the sugar buzz that got you through high school! (Not saying that sweet somethings don’t get me all woozy brained and manic eyed but you get the drift…). One of my favourite recipes with Methi apart from Methi rice is Methi Chicken. The bitterness all but disappears and you’re left with a smokey flavor. Compliments the coconut rice beautifully!
P.S You can also serve the Methi Chicken with roti’s. That’s what I do when I’m pressed for time!
Methi Chicken with Coconut Rice
Cooking time: 45 mins
What you need:
1 Kg Chicken, curry cut
2 cups Methi/ fenugreek leaves (fresh), chopped
2 Tbsp Vegetable/ Sunflower oil
1 large Onion, chopped
1 large Tomato, chopped
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
1 tsp Turmeric powder
2 tsps Kashmiri Red Chili powder
2 tsp Coriander/ Dhaniya powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
Salt to taste
For the Coconut Rice:
3 cups Jeera Sambhar Rice (or any aromatic short grain)
2 medium Onions, sliced
2 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
2 pieces Cinnamon (1” each)
2 Bay leaves
3 Cardamom pods
10 whole Cashews
5 Tbsp Oil
2 cups Coconut Milk (I prefer the Homemade Brand)
3 cups Water
1 cup Grated Fresh Coconut, lightly toasted
Salt to taste
What to do:
For the Methi Chicken: Heat the oil in a large cooking pan. Once the oil ripples, add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the onions and a teaspoon of salt and let it cook covered for 5 minutes. (The salt hastens the browning process, gives the curry a lovely colour). Sprinkle the turmeric, red chili and coriander powder. Reduce heat and saute for 2 mins, till the raw smell disappears. Don’t let the spice mixture burn. Mix in the tomatoes, raise the heat to medium-high and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chicken and mix well to combine. Cook covered for 10 minutes. After that add the chopped methi/ fenugreek leaves and cook covered on medium-low flame for a further 25-30 minutes. Don’t add any water and let it cook in its own juices. Finally, sprinkle some garam masala and season with Salt as per taste.
For the Coconut Rice: Soak the bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamom in 3 Tbsp of water for 5 mins. Wash and soak rice for 5 mins. Drain and set aside. Heat a pan/ cooker frying pan. Toast the coconut till it starts to just dry out and some strands turn brown. About 5 mins, then set aside. Heat the oil in a cooker frying pan. When it is hot add in the ghee. (This is to prevent it from burning). Put in the whole spices sans water (save it), reduce the heat. Toss in Onions and sauté on medium flame till they turn translucent. Add ginger garlic paste, fry well. Toss in the cashews, and sauté till golden. Now add the rice and stir well to coat the grains with the oil mixture. Pour in the water, spice water and coconut milk. Stir well to combine. Wait till the contents come to a boil. Pressure cook with weight on for 10 mins. Let it stand for 10 mins before serving or till pressure disappears. Now open the lid and fluff the contents with a fork – this ensures the rice does not stick together. Now gently fold in the toasted coconut.
Serve hot with Methi Chicken!
P.S. If you want a pronounced coconut-y flavor, increase the coconut milk to 3 glasses and reduce the water to 2 ½ glasses. Generally the rule for good fluffy rice is a rice to water ratio of 1:1 ½. However, since the coconut milk also has a solid component, we add more water to ensure the rice cooks to perfection.