Methi Muthia is a Gujurati breakfast or snack that is full of flavour and goodness. The main ingredient is fresh fenugreek leaves which I strongly advise seeking out as they are wonderfully aromatic and slightly bitter and warming.
- 1 bunch fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves
- 4-5 tbsp atta (or 2 tbsp each of plain and wholemeal flour)
- 2 tbsp gram flour
- 2 tbsp semolina
- 1 green chilli, very finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp white pepper powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp oil plus some for greasing your hand and for pan frying
- Salt to taste
- Chop the methi leaves and place them in a colander with 1 tsp salt. After 5 minutes, squeeze the bitter juice from the leaves and discard it.
- Add the methi leaves to the remaining ingredients and knead to a soft dough by adding a little water. The consistency of the dough should be a little softer and wetter than a chapatti dough but not sticky. You don’t need much water so add sparingly.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and grease your hands slightly so you can shape each portion into little logs easily.
- Place each little portion into a steamer and be sure to space them apart as they expand when steaming. Steam for 20 minutes then remove and cut each log into 1 inch slices.
- You can serve them just like this or heat a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan and place the slices in a single layer. Cook for a minute until the sides begin to crisp and turn golden then flip them and cook for another minute. Add a pinch of asafoetida and some sesame seeds for crunch and sizzle until they turn golden brown. Stir gently to mix the tempered spices then serve warm as is or with a fresh chutney or raita.
I made this as part of a vegan Indian feast for my brother who has an insatiable appetite and a shit recipe repertoire. This results in some gigantic mounds of instant mash flavoured with various dehydrated soup sachets or if you’re lucky, gravy granules. The fact that he was sat tucking into something I’d rather grout tiles with didn’t sit right with me so I took over his kitchen one day to show him how easy and delicious actual cooking can be. This recipe was by far both of our favourites and if you try it, I’m sure it will be yours too.
Baby aubergines are stuffed with a coconut and peanut spice mix and simmered slowly in a velvety sauce in a pan until meltingly soft. It is worth making the effort to seek out baby aubergines from an Indian grocers as they take less time to cook and you get a good ratio of filling to aubergine.
- 10-12 baby aubergines
- 60g desiccated or freshly grated coconut
- 120g roasted unsalted peanuts
- 40g fresh coriander
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 green chili
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp coriander seeds, roasted and ground
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ½ – 1 carton passata
- Cut each aubergine in half lengthways, but don’t cut through the stem. Roll each one over and cut lengthways again, still keeping the stem intact.
- Put a large lidded frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, toast the coconut and peanuts for 2-3 minutes, until the coconut is starting to brown. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool. Put the coriander, garlic, green chilli, tomato puree, coriander, turmeric and salt into a food processor, along with the cooled peanuts and coconut. Pulse until coarsely ground to a grainy paste. Add a little peanut butter to help it bind if you need but not too much.
- Open each aubergine out like a flower and fill with the coconut mixture, using your hands. Roll the aubergine over, open and stuff again then press closed. Save any leftover stuffing to add it to the pan later when you cook the aubergines.
- Next, put the oil into the frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the onion and fry until golden and soft. Add the remaining filling and ½ a carton of passata. Stir to combine and allow the sauce to bubble for a few minutes. Add the aubergines and a splash of water, turn the heat up high and cook for a couple of minutes, then put the lid on and turn the heat down. Cook for 10 minutes, then gently turn the aubergines and add a splash of water if they’re looking dry. Cook for a further 20 minutes, or until nice and tender. Serve with cucumber and mint raita, or with a salad, some yogurt and chapattis.
Kachoris are a traditional Gujarati snack, often filled with spiced dhal. I find that using green peas, instead of pulses, gives them a fresher, sweeter flavour that combines wonderfully with the warmth of the spices. I’ve used peanuts for a little added crunch too.
This version of kachori are filled with spicy pea filling and served with a cooling coriander and coconut chutney. Yummy! They will make a delicious starter to a curry night. Like most Indian snacks, traditional kachori get a deep-frying treatment but these beauties have been baked in the oven with excellent results.
Adding citric acid to the dough helps to keep the chapatti case crisp and adds a little citrus zing to balance the flavour but it is completely optional. You can omit it if you don’t have any.
- 150 g plain flour, sifted
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp / 15 ml of oil (I used olive oil)
- about 75 ml / 5 tbsp of boiling water
- ½ tsp citric acid (if using)
- 300g frozen peas, defrosted
- 25g unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 tsp of grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp hot chilli powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp oil, for sauteéing
- about 1-2 tbsp / 15-30 ml of lemon juice
- small bunch of mint, chopped
- 1 cup of fresh coriander
- about ½ cup / 120 ml full fat coconut milk
- lime juice to taste (I used ½ lime)
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ¼ tsp chilli powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, mix flour, citric acid and salt. Add oil and rub it into the flour with your hands. Now add 60 ml of hot water and start bringing the dough together. If it is too dry add another 1-2 tablespoons but do it gradually so that the dough doesn’t end up too wet. Knead for 5 minutes. Brush the surface of the dough with a tiny bit of oil and cover with a damp tea towel to prevent drying up.
- Whiz defrosted peas in a food processor with the mint until coarse chunks remain.
- Warm up a tablespoon of oil over a medium heat in a pan. Add mustard seeds and wait until they start popping. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry them briefly until the garlic has softened. Mix all the spices in a small bowl with a bit of water to make a paste. When you add them to the pan, this will prevent burning. Now add the spice paste, peas, peanuts and salt to the pan. Stir-fry for a few minutes but do not let the mixture dry up completely. Let the filling cool down.
- Pinch a small amount of the dough and roll it into an 8 cm / 3” circle. Place a heaped teaspoon of dough in the middle and gather the dough around the filling so it looks like a little money bag and tear away/cut off excess dough. Roll the kachori in your hands to make it more circular in shape. Keep kachori ready under a damp kitchen towel.
- Heat up the oven to 200° C. Place kachori on a baking tray and brush them with a bit of oil. Bake for about 40 minutes, until browned.
- To make the chutney, blitz all the chutney ingredients (apart from lime, salt and pepper) in a blender. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.