New red potatoes still in their jackets, chopped into bite size pieces if necessary. Fenugreek, an herb available in Indian stores for a short while in summer, vivid green and slightly bitter. Bell pepper, red and juicy, roasted till just south of tender, not an ingredient in the original recipe but thrown in anyway because I had it. Fresh dill, finely chopped and added almost at the end,giving a secret oomph to the dish.
I was home alone when I cooked this for dinner one evening last week. It was so good that I felt guilty about eating alone. Called Aloo Methi (“Potatoes Fenugreek” in Hindi), this simple dish is really easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. The flavor comes from the vegetables and herbs, so get them fresh and organic if you can. The recipe is adapted from Camellia Panjabi’s “50 Great Curries of India”. I’m hoping for redemption for eating alone by sharing my version of the recipe here.
New potatoes (can substitute with other potatoes if necessary. I used red, but white is typical) - 3/4 lb to 1 lb, cut into 1 inch or bite size pieces.
Bell pepper (any color) – 1/2, cut into roughly 1 inch pieces, optional
Onion (yellow) – 1/2 (or 1/4 cup), thinly sliced, optional
Fenugreek – 1 cup leaves only, roughly chopped
Dill – 2 tbsp chopped
Green chili (or jalapeno) – 1 or 2, slit lengthwise
Cilantro – 2 tbsp chopped
Garlic – 3 cloves crushed or minced
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Vegetable Oil – 3 tbsp
Lime – squeeze to taste
Salt – to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. The oil is hot enough if you throw in a piece of onion and it sizzles. Add the garlic, chili and onion and sweat till the pieces of onion are transparent. Add the fenugreek. Fry for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, bell pepper and turmeric. Saute for 5 minutes. Cover the skillet and lower the heat to medium. Add a bit of water if necessary at any time. There is no ‘sauce’ in this dish. The water is just to prevent burning.
The potatoes should be fork tender after 25 – 30 minutes total.Once the potatoes are cooked, add the dill and cilantro. Also add salt and lime to taste. Mix well, let sit another 2 minutes on low and then serve after removing the pieces of chili.
This dish is great with Indian chapathis or even tortillas. I would also pair it with rice and plain yoghurt.
If you’ve never had fenugreek before, you should know that it is bitter by itself. But the flavor blends in really well when combined with other ingredients. You could optionally soak the leaves in water with some salt to remove the bitterness like you would do with eggplant.
Did you know that fenugreek helps decrease blood sugar and cholesterol while, erm, also being an aphrodisiac? It is an amazing herb really.
One of the things I’m trying to do with this blog is to show how easy it is to cook Indian food. Apart from finding fenugreek, this recipe is as easy as it gets. I hope you’ll try it out. Who knows, you might like it so much that you’ll write to me for more recipes that include fenugreek.
I promise to write back.