Fenugreek Greens in Bengali & Indian Cooking Explained

Fenugreek is also known as Kasuri Methi. The plant with oval leaves looks short and upright. Ground fenugreek or fenugreek seeds are yellowish-brown in colour and warm to touch.

The mature leaves are faintly bitter to taste. However, the entire plant produces a very sharp and sweet aroma. That is why, kasuri methi (in powdered form) is used to flavour up several meat dishes.

It is also one of the key ingredients of any curry powder. They have a sharp curry-like taste.

Cooking Fenugreek Greens

Uses of Fenugreek Greens in Bengali & Indian Cuisines

Fenugreek is used in three ways in Indian cuisines – as an herb (fresh or dried leaves), as a vegetable (fresh leaves, microgreens or sprouts) and as a spice (seeds).

It is mostly used as an important ingredient in curry powder. Panch phoron (mixture of five spices), which is used to add flavours to many Bengali vegan dishes, has fenugreek as one of its key components.

The five spice mixture i.e. panch phoron is also used in some non-veg Bengali recipes such as mackerel and tuna fish preparations.

It adds a decent, tangy aroma to the recipes. Pickles and chutneys, two signature delicacies of Indian cuisines, incorporate fenugreek as a part of panch phoron.

Both fresh and dried fenugreek leaves are used in meat curries for the aromatic richness. Dried leaves are also used for garnishing meat dishes and cilantro. Roasted ground seeds take the flavour quotient a few notches up.

Bongs have a soft spot for clean, leafy greens. They use a wider variety of leafy vegetables to cook some yummiest delicacies.

Therefore, it’s no wonder that fenugreek leaves will find a place in Bengali cuisines. In Bengal, methi kumro or methi begun (brinjal) is a famous delicacy.

Fresh fenugreek leaves are stir fried with small pieces of pumpkin or brinjals and whole dried chillies.

Usually sugar is added to balance the slightly bitter taste of the fenugreek leaves. However, grated coconut is a better alternative to sugar.

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It brings both sweetness and richness to any of these stir fried fenugreek green preparations. Panch phoron is added for slight tempering and that makes the dishes more flavoursome.

Both the recipes are very simple and take very little time to cook. They are yummy and best relished with plain steamed rice.

However, you can also serve them with Indian flatbreads such as roti or naan. The dish is popular both in the rural pockets and among the urban population of Bengal.

The Bong style fenugreek recipes are always done in mustard oil. The pungent flavour of mustard oil brings the best out of the ingredients.

Of all spices, only turmeric and cumin powder are used. It keeps the dish simple, retains the individual flavours and nutritional profile of fenugreeks and pumpkin/brinjals.

Methi Machi is a popular, mouth-watering delicacy cooked in Bongs’ kitchens. It is a favourite with almost all fish-loving Bong foodies.

It is a unique and flavourful union of fish and fenugreek that come together and swap flavours to whip up an amazing consistency in texture and taste.

Only a handful of simple spices add a subtle taste whereas fenugreeks bring an incredible flavour.

The dish is completely different from other fish curries cooked at Bongs’ kitchens or restaurants. The dish offers a distinct, strong flavour and delectable taste.

Silver pomfret is typically used for the preparation. The best part of silver pomfret is it has a few bones and lends a great texture to the fish curry.

Both fenugreeks and silver pomfret are very healthy and therefore, their jodi (pairing) takes good care of your health while tempting and satiating your jaded taste buds at the same time.

As for many fish curries, this dish is best enjoyed with piping hot rice. Though this scrumptious curry takes nearly one hour to prepare, it requires only a few simple ingredients.

In North India, people prepare methi aloo, a simple delicacy with fenugreek and potatoes. The leafy green is the queen in methi aloo and brings a lip-smacking flavour to the boiled, spicy, small potatoes.

The earthiness of potatoes and goodness of fenugreek, flavoured up by a few spices punch all the taste in this single delicacy.

The preparation is way different from how methi kumro or methi begin is cooked.

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Methi paratha is a healthy, mouth-watering snack that uses fenugreek leaves. It is a North Indian dish though now savoured by people in other states as well.

You can bring it to the breakfast table or serve it at lunch/dinner. Methi dal is an awesome preparation that incorporates goodness of fenugreek leaves and pigeon pea lentils and different spices.

Sliced onions and chopped tomatoes lend a beautiful texture and colour to the comforting recipe.

Methi malai paneer is a slightly sweet, creamy, delicious dish. Use of fenugreek leaves makes the recipe more flagrant. The dish goes well with both rice and rotis for a rich, delectable meal.

Methi and mushroom – an off-beat but beautiful combination both for a great texture and taste! It is a creamy, delicious preparation that soaks in the flavours of fenugreek leaves and button mushrooms.

A host of spices make this North Indian dish delectable and one of its kind.

Thepla is a famous, savoury flatbread from Gujarat. Give the traditional dish a little twist by adding chopped fenugreek leaves.

You will love the fusion; that much I can promise. Methi Muthia is another great dish from Gujarat. Methi muthia refers to fried or steamed dumplings made from fenugreek leaves and chickpea flours.

Methi matar malai is a yummy North Indian curry. From the title, you can easily guess the names of the main ingredients.

The sumptuous curry is slow cooked with green peas, fenugreek leaves and a lot of fresh cream. The recipe will surely woo both the kids and adults.

Methi pulao is a glutton-free, healthy recipe that soaks in flavours of basmati rice, fenugreek leaves, mixed vegetables and a few spices.

Methi chole is a spicy, tasty, vegan Punjabi curry made with white chickpeas and fenugreek leaves. Methi pokora is a delicious, crispy snack.

Fenugreek leaves are mixed with gram flour, spices and herbs and deep fried in mustard oil. These fritters are best paired with chutney.

Methi chaman is a famous dish from Kashmir. This delicious recipe has the signature culinary style of the Kashmir Pundit cuisines.

The gravy is cooked with fenugreek leaves and paneer (chaman). This sumptuous dish can be compared to Palak Paneer, a popular North Indian delicacy.

Is Fenugreek Greens Tasty?

Mature fenugreek greens are faintly bitter in taste. However, this leafy vegetable has an amazing nutritional profile.

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When stir fried with other vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkin and egg plants, it soaks in the tastes of the other veggies.

Moreover, adding grated coconut or a little bit of sugar balances the original taste of the fenugreek greens.

However, its strong flavour lingers and makes any recipe incredibly aromatic.

What are the Best Recipes of Fenugreek Greens?

I am a Bengali and have an insane fascination for Bengali cuisines. Of all the dishes prepared with fenugreek greens,

I love methi kumro the most. Methi brinjal is also my favourite only if the dish is made with small cubes of soft brinjals that are mostly found during the winter season.

North Indian dish methi aloo (potatoes) is also a favourite and I often cook it in my kitchen.

Whereas I enjoy Bengali style methi saag bhaja with steamed rice, the north Indian dish is best accompanied by roti or sattu ka paratha.

In addition, I occasionally dig into methi paratha, methi pulao, methi chaman, methi mushroom, methi chole and several other fenugreek greens delicacies.

Questions & Answers:

What Dishes Can be Made from Boiled Fenugreek Greens?

There are no such dishes which can be made by boiling the methi but yes if you want to eat the green by boiling it and smashing it, it does help you in gaining the goodness of the green. Otherwise, there are no such items which can be done after boiling it.

How Do You Know When Fenugreek Greens are Cooked?

After fenugreek leaves are well cooked, they change their colour and texture. You can see that the greens become a little mushy.

What Goes Well with Fenugreek Greens?

It depends on the type of the dish as well as the eating habits of a particular region or a community. Usually, the Bongs prefer steamed rice with fenugreek curry or bhaja whereas the non-Bengalis eat either rice or roti with fenugreek bhaji or curry.

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