Methi Chaman (No onion no garlic Kashmiri Pandit style) recipe with step by step pictures
Methi Chaman is a delightful vegetarian Kashmiri side dish that goes very well with rice. Kashmiri cuisine is considered as a very old cuisine and has evolved and affected by cuisine of central Asia and middle east. It can be further divided into two types which are Kashmiri Muslim style and Kashmiri Pandit style. Kashmiri Pandit cuisine is believed to be ancient cuisine and it calls for strict no use of onion, garlic, tomatoes and eggs. But time is changing and so do the use of onion, garlic and tomatoes in the cuisine. Although Kasmiri Pandit community eats non vegetarian (Fish and Lamb only) but their heritage of vegetarian recipes is amazing. Most of the recipes are full of delicate but wonderful flavors of yogurt, mustard oil, saffron, milk, Kashmiri red chili, asafoetida, fennel and caraway seeds. Their rich and delicate flavors make every recipe super yum.
One such wonderful Kashmiri Pandit recipe is Methi Chaman. Methi are fenugreek leaves and Chaman is basically Fresh cheese or Paneer. I have tried to keep it as authentic as possible by not incorporating onions and garlic. It taste so delicious that you will not miss onions and garlic in the gravy. Presenting below my take on delicious Methi Chaman, do try :-).
Methi Chaman Ingredients:
1 cup ~ 240 ml approximately
Fenugreek (Methi) leaves – 2 cups (cleaned fenugreek or Methi leaves, plucked from stem)
Fresh cheese or Paneer – 200 grams
Cashews (Kaju) – 7-8
Melon (Magaz) seeds – 1 tablespoon
Fennel (Saunf) seeds, for tempering – 1/4 teaspoon
Black cardamom (Badi Elaichi) – 2
Cloves (laung) – 2
Cumin seeds (Jeera) – 1/2 teaspoons
Turmeric (Haldi) powder – 1 teaspoon
Full fat milk – 1/2 cup
Asafoetida (Hing) – 1/4 teaspoon
Salt – As per taste
Kashmiri red chili (Degi Mirch) powder – 2 teaspoons
Fennel (Saunf) seeds, for making powder – 1 teaspoon
Dry ginger (Saunth) powder – 1 teaspoon
Dry mint (Pudina) powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Caraway seeds (Shahi Jeera) – 1 teaspoon
Mustard oil (Kacchi Ghani Sarson ka Tel) – 3 and 1/2 tablespoons
Methi Chaman Method:
1. Put fennel seeds (Saunf) into a Mortar and Pestle and crush them to form a powder. If you have fennel powder available then you can directly use it.
2. Now put Caraway seeds (Shahi Jeera) into a Mortar and Pestle and crush them to form a powder. Also, crush dry Mint (Pudina) leaves between your hand to make dry mint powder.
3. Clean and wash fenugreek or Methi leaves and strain the excess water.
4. Roughly chop the leaves as shown in the picture below.
5. In a heated pan, pour 3 tablespoons of mustard oil and allow it to get heated on a high flame till oil starts fuming. Switch off the flame and let mustard oil to get cool down a bit (This is done to remove the pungent flavor and smell of the mustard oil). When oil gets cooled, again switch on the flame on medium heat. Add diced fresh cheese or Paneer cubes into the oil.
6. Shallow fry the Paneer cubes by flipping them continuously until cubes acquire golden brown color as shown in the picture below.
7. Take the fresh cheese or Paneer cubes out of the pan and place them on a tissue paper.
8. Take whole milk in a bowl and add all the fried Paneer cubes into it. Keep them aside and allow cubes to get soaked in the milk for some time.
9. In the same pan which has mustard oil left after shallow frying Paneer cubes, add cumin seeds (Jeera), fennel seeds (Saunf), black cardamom (Badi Elaichi), green cardamom (Elaichi) and cloves (Laung) into it. Saute all things on a medium low flame for 10-15 seconds.
10. Add turmeric powder into it and mix it well for 10 seconds on medium low flame.
11.Now add melon (Magaz) seeds and Cashews (Kaju) in it, mix it well for 20 seconds on medium low flame.
12. Add roughly chopped tomatoes in it.
Authentic Kashmiri cuisine does not contain tomatoes, so if you want to make it 100 percent authentic, then you can add 1/4 cup of Yogurt or Dahi in place of tomatoes. However, I like to add tomatoes in this as they impart a nice texture and taste to this gravy. As, I have mentioned earlier that Kashmiri cuisine has evolved a lot since ancient time.
13. Cook the mixture on medium flame stirring occasionally till tomatoes are cooked.
14. Blend/or grind the mixture to form a smooth paste as shown in the picture below.
15. In the very same pan, which was used to prepare the gravy, add 1/2 tablespoon of mustard oil and allow the oil to become hot on a medium flame. Add asafoetida (Hing) powder into it and mix it well for 10 seconds.
16. Add chopped fenugreek (Methi) leaves into it.
17. Cook the fenugreek (Methi) leaves on a medium high flame for 4-5 minutes till they are cooked perfectly.
18. Add prepared gravy into the pan, mix it well and cook it for a minute on and medium flame, stirring continuously.
19. Add Kashmiri red chili (Degi Mirch) powder and salt into it and mix it well.
20. Cook it about for 30 seconds on a low flame.
21. Add fresh cheese or Paneer soaked in the milk along with the milk into the pan and mix it well. Cook it for 2 minutes on medium flame till all things are mixed and gravy starts boiling.
22. Add crushed caraway seeds (Shahi Jeera), fennel (Saunf) powder, dry ginger (Saunth) powder and dry mint leaves (Pudina) powder into it.
23. Mix all things well and cook it for a minute on a low flame.Delightful and tasty Methi Chaman is ready. Serve it with steamed rice or Roti and it will be loved by all.
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