Friday, June 23, 2017

recipe of methi papad ki subzi

What if I say methi (fenugreek) seeds make a great subzi and it is not bitter at all? Very few believe this and I know a few who make this subzi after removing the soaking water, boiling it in pressure cooker and removing even the cooking water to 'remove' the bitterness. Trust me you are not supposed to discard the soaking water at all and the methi seeds do not taste bitter in this subzi. 
Sharing a methi papad ki subzi today, a unique flavour that brings a just a light hint of methi bitterness and the alkaline taste of raw urad dal papad that gets balanced with yogurt. 

Methi papad ki subzi was not made in my parents home ever. I know my mother would have scoffed at the idea of methi seeds in a subzi though she would love papad in any form. We occasionally used to make papad ki subzi with the sour buttermilk sometimes just to finish the weekly stock of buttermilk that was leftover after the ghee making excercise back home, normally used for making kadhi or dahi wale alu. 
But that was the end of anything to do with papad in a curry, methi was used in the tadka though, just 1/2 tsp of it. The hint of bitterness methi seeds bring into a dish when used in the tadka is quite a subtle flavour that enlivens many a curries in the eastern part of India I must add. 

Using methi seeds in bulk to make the curry was not something my family would have taken to. One of my Marwadi friend during school used to talk about this subzi but I am sure in that age we are not too sure to serve such unusual food to guests, so I never got to taste methi ki subzi while I loved the kanji vadas and the kair sangri pickles and many types of sweets that her mom made. 

I was actually surprised to taste methi papad ki subzi in a roadside dhaba in Rajasthan couple of years ago and it was not bitter at all. I was so intrigued that I asked the dhaba owner and he shared a useful tip to make this subzi. He told me not to touch the methi once it is soaked, just tip them directly into the cooking pan when cooking the subzi. 

He mentioned if the methi seeds are punctured after soaking they turn bitter, else they remain good. I tried the subzi as soon as I was back home and this subzi has been a regular since then. Even the husband likes it, probably more because he tasted it in a roadside dhaba for the first time but that is good for me. 

(for 4-6 servings)
1/4 cup methi seeds 
5 urad dal papads broken into bite size pieces
1 cup yogurt 
1 cup water 
1 tbsp coriander powder 
1 tbsp cumin powder 
1 tsp red chili powder or to taste 
Pinch of asafoetida or hing 
1/2 tsp turmeric powder 
1 tbsp mustard oil 
Salt to taste 
Generous amount of chopped coriander leaves


Soak the methi seeds overnight in a cup of water.  Do not disturb once soaked. Remember you are not supposed to touch the soaked methi seeds and puncture its mucilage layer.
Whisk the coriander and cumin powders in the yogurt, add water and whisk again to make it smooth. Keep aside.
Heat the oil in a deep pan, add the asafoetida and let it get aromatic. Not take the pan off the heat and add turmeric powder and chili powder, mix well and let them get aromatic. 
Pour the yogurt spice mix slowly into the pan and whisk, take the pan back to the stove and whisk to keep it cooking evenly. 
As soon as the curry starts simmering, pour the soaked methi seeds along with the soaking water and simmer for 10 minutes. 
Add the broken papads, simmer for a couple of minutes and take the pan off the stove.
Sprinkle coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis or parathas. The best combination with methi papad ki subzi is ghee soaked bajra roti if you like, this methi papad ki subzi makes a great side dish for a big Indian spread as well. 

Make this methi papad ki subzi next time when you are entertaining guests. Add some raisins and may be some fed cashews to make the subzi a bit rich. Raisins actually give methi papad ki subzi a nice dimention. 
It is great for diabetics, is a very good alkalising food but most of all it tastes great. The traditional recipes that have survived the test or time are here to stay. The only grudge is that we don't know them all. It is good till I keep getting acquainted with them one after the other. A slow learning curve is better that never getting exposed to such great food. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

everyday subzi : raw papaya stew | kachhe papeete ka ishtoo

Raw papaya is an interesting vegetable. While it becomes a table fruit once ripe, the raw fruit makes wonderful salad, raita, paratha, chutney and even curry. The neutral taste of raw papaya makes it a perfect candidate for any flavour you want it to acquire.

raw papaya stew | kachhe papeete ka ishtoo

This kachhe papeete ka ishtoo is actually a stew that everyone loves with all types of Indian breads. I remember we used to love it with do pad ki roti, poori or crisp parathas. Kachhe papeete ka ishtoo is spicy, aromatic and yet very light so it can be a part of light meal with thin chapatis and makes a paratha meal comparatively light too.

(3-4 servings)

500 gm raw papaya peeled, seeds removed and chopped into big chunks
250 gm red onions sliced thinly
100-200 gm potatoes peeled and cubed (optional)
4 green cardamoms
2 black cardamoms
12 cloves
2 sticks of Indian cinnamon
1 tsp pepper corns
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds 
3 tejpatta leaves
4-6 whole dry red chillies
12-15 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed
1 tbsp thin julienne of ginger
2 tbsp mustard oil
salt to taste 


Heat the oil in a deep pan keeping the heat low, a handi or pressure cooker that can be used with or without the pressure lid. Add the whole spices, dry red chilies and smashed garlic at once and wait till they all become aromatic. It takes less than a minute.

Add the sliced onions and potatoes, mix well and cook till both look a little glazed. It takes just 2-3 minutes. You don't need to brown the onions but a few brownish streaks are okay.

Add the papaya chunks, toss to mix well. Add salt and mix. Cover with a well fitting lid and let it cook on dum till everything gets cooked well. The papaya chunks will start disintegrating and the onions will almost dissolve. You can add a few spoons of water in between to keep the dish moist at all times. This dum cooking can take about 30 minutes but if you pressure cook it gets faster. Take care to switch off the gas just after the first whistle blows.

raw papaya stew | kachhe papeete ka ishtoo

The onions and raw papaya has enough water in it to make this stew watery enough but you can add up to 1/4 cup water to make the cooking easier.

This kachhe papeete ka ishtoo is quite aromatic and delicious and can be made with bottle gourds too. Some people like it just with potatoes but use more onions in that case if you try.

The kathal ka dopyaza is a similar recipe with minor differences but the taste of kathal ka dopyaza is very different from this one. Some people call it kachhe papeete ka dopyaza as well.

Do try this recipe and serve with any regular chapati or roti you eat. This stew pairs well with light flat breads and not too much with millet breads but we like it with our mixed grain rotis too.

I have shared a basic recipe of this kachhe papeete ka stew with dal bhari poori here. It is actually a versatile subzi and can be served with whatever you like.