News of the Day : The superhot looks of David Beckam and Prince Charles fail to clinch the 2018 World Cup (Football/Soccer) for UK while the enduring charms of Morgan Freeman and Bill Clinton can do nothing to bring World Cup 2022 to USA. Russia gets 2018 (first the Sochi winter and then world cup, no messing with the bear there) and Qatar gets 2022 (no alcohol + more than 100 Degree F leads to not my kinda hospitality :)).
I am non fussy eater and yet there is one category of food I usually avoid – the sort that taste bitter. Think greens like Fenugreek, Swiss Chard, Collard, Snake Gourd and I think eeekkksss!!! I know they are healthy and all and so I try and find a way to gobble them up in some tasty form. That might be a reason why you will see most of my bitter vegetable dishes are on the fancier side. I do all I can to avoid the boiled or stir fried versions and ensure I manage eat them.
Fenugreek leaves are not exactly super popular in this country but they are in India. These greens are as bitter as they come and as loaded in nutrients as they should be. Which means they need to be eaten. Perhaps that is why creamed fenugreek and peas are so popular in India. I love making this dish whenever I have folks coming for dinner since this is an easy, no fail, impressive dish. Next time you are ok with some cream in your diet, try this one out 🙂
Ingredients: As a side dish 8-10, as a main dish 5-7
For the spice paste:
1 large onion, chopped into big chunks
3-4 green chillies, adjust as per taste
1″ ginger, peeled and halved
1″ cinnamon stick (or 3/4 tsp cinnamon powder)
4-5 cloves (or 1/2 tsp clove powder)
3-4 cardomom pods (or 1/2 tsp cardomom powder)
1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1 tsp cumin powder)
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen (this makes the creamier and thicker. Skip it if you don’t want it so)
For the rest:
2 tbsp butter/oil
1.5 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 cups fenugreek leaves, fresh or frozen, tightly packed (you can get the fresh ones at the farmer’s market and the frozen ones at specialty/indian grocery stores)
1-1/4 cup Green Peas, fresh/frozen
1 tsp Sugar (helps mellow the bitterness of fenugreek leaves but hey skip it and save some calories :D)
Salt to taste
½ cup Fresh Cream (I used regular whipping cream. You can substitute with half n half)
1. Put all the ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor/grinder (or better still, i used my magic bullet :D) and grind it to a smooth fine paste. Add a little water, if needed.
2. Heat butter/oil in a large pan and add cumin seeds to it. When it starts sizzling and releasing its aroma, add the ground spice paste and turmeric to it. Cook the paste till the raw smell of the onion is gone, about 7-10 minutes. Make sure you keep stirring the paste regularly to prevent it from burning/sticking to the bottom of the pan. disappears. if the paste becomes too dry while cooking or keeps sticking, add a little bit of water to remedy. it may increase the spice frying time though 🙂
3. Now add the fenugreek leaves and cook until the leaves are wilted, about 3-4 mins. If using frozen, then cook them after thawing them for a minute or two. The cooking time stays the same even for the frozen ones.
4. Now add the green peas, sugar and salt to taste and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the cream to the pan and stir to mix. Lower the heat to a simmer and bring the entire thing to a gentle boil. Add a little water if you think the gravy is too thick for your taste. Simmer for 3-5 minutes till you get the desired consistency of the gravy (remember, once the dish is cold, it will become drier).
6. Serve it hot with Indian flat breads (roti/naan/paratha) for a regular dinner or serve it as a side dish in a larger spread.