Aloo Methi is a typical winter time vegetable dish in north India. Fenugreek is said to have protective properties against the cold and ill health and is much celebrated in Ayurveda. It has a bitter taste which is offset by potatoes beautifully. The vegetables are cooked in asafoetida and mustard oil which is a strange combination as all three are extremely pungent. But the flavours work well together and create this much loved dish that is popular in homes and restaurants alike.
Cooking Time 30 minutes
You will need:
- 500 g salad potatoes (waxy varieties are better as they do not disintegrate during cooking)
- One small bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves. Can be purchased at Asian shops
- Mustard oil or ordinary cooking oil
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 heaped tsp cumin powder (instructions for homemade below)
- 1 heaped tsp coriander see powder (instructions for homemade below)
- 1 tsp dried raw mango powder (Amchoor, readily available in Asian shops)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Soak and wash the fenugreek leaves well to remove any dirt clinging to them. While you are soaking the leaves, gently toast the cumin seeds in a frying pan for about 5 minutes and grind to a coarse powder in either a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. The coriander seeds can be ground without toasting. Remove thick and tough stalks on the fenugreek. and chop into 1 cm lengths. Peel, wash and cube the potatoes. Heat a couple of glugs of mustard/cooking oil in a heavy bottomed pan (choose a pan that has a well fitting lid as we will need this later) on a high heat setting. When hot, add the cumin seeds. When these turn golden, lower the heat to minimum and add the asafoetida and stir. Add the turmeric and stir again to avoid it burning. Take care at this stage as turmeric powder burns easily. Immediately add the fenugreek leaves and turn the heat back up. After 30 seconds, add the potatoes and stir so that they are evenly coated. Then add the remaining powdered spices and salt and stir. Continue to cook the potatoes on a medium to high heat (this crisps the potatoes a little which is nice) with the lid on stirring occasionally for the next ten minutes. DO NOT ADD WATER AT ANY STAGE. Check if the potatoes are cooked by cutting them with a spoon. They should cut easily but avoid over cooking them until they are floury and fall apart. This takes some practice but you should get it with patience. Serve with your favourite Indian meal!