Fenugreek leaves and chickpea gravy – did that make you frown? Methi chhole isn’t the most fashionable way of having chickpeas in India [channa masala takes the crown for popularity], but if you’re one of those who want to do something offbeat, ‘hatke’ – you must try this recipe.
In methi chhole, fresh fenugreek and chickpeas come together like soulmates – the bitter notes of methi are tamed by the rich nuttiness of chickpeas and the interesting spice blend in the gravy.
I had initially thought of going by Hemant Trivedi’s recipe but then I found my pantry missing cashewnuts and laden with onions. So I skipped the Rajasthani version and tried my own with this recipe.
- Chickpeas – 1.5 cups
- Fresh fenugreek leaves – 1 bunch
- Tamarind – 1 lemon-sized ball
- Ginger – 1-inch piece
- Onion – 1
- Green chilly – 1
- Red chilly powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
- Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
- Cinnamon stick – 1
- Coarsely ground fenugreek seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Asafoetida – 1 pinch
- Salt – 1 teaspoon, or to taste
- Jaggery – 1 teaspoon, or to taste
- Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon
- Coriander leaves – for garnishing
1. Boiling chickpeas
At least 8 hours before you plan to make methi chhole, put dried chickpeas to soak in a pot full of water. The chickpeas absorb a lot of water and swell up; make sure they are completely submerged (at leas an inch under water) when you put them to soak.
Drain, wash and pressure-cook in 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Set the flame to high till the first whistle, then pressure-cook for another 15 minutes on low flame.
Let the pressure release naturally. Take the chickpeas out, reserve the liquor in which the chickpeas were boiled.
2. Readying the other ingredients
Soak tamarind in half a cup of water for 20 minutes. Mash the tamarind into the water to extract its pulp, discard the solids.
Grind together onion, ginger and green chillies into paste.
Pluck fenugreek leaves, discarding the stems and yellow stained leaves if any. Wash thoroughly and chop finely.
3. Making the curry
Heat vegetable oil in a wok or kadhai. When hot, add a cinnamon stick and methi dal (coarsely ground fenugreek seeds) and let them turn a shade darker. Add a pinch of asafoetida, give a quick stir to the flavored oil and add onion-ginger-chilly paste. Fry on medium heat till it turns golden-brown. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the base.
Add coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilly powder. Mix well.
After two minutes, Add chopped fenugreek leaves and salt. Set the flame to high, and stir around till the leaves have wilted and given off all water (4-5 minutes).
Add tamarind pulp and jaggery. Cook for another two minutes.
Turn the contents of the pressure cooker – boiled chickpeas and its liquor – into the kadhai with masala. Adjust salt. Let it come to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every other minute.
Serve garnished with chopped coriander leaves and freshly cut onion rings, alongside any Indian bread (chapatis/parathas/naans/bhature).
Wondering about the sesame-studded elongated bread on the right of the picture? You’ve missed my last post! Catch up on how to make this flatbread with Indian spices. And subscribe to my blog – you won’t miss a thing again :) Get email updates delivered to your inbox or read via RSS.