Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fenugreek Leaves Saar (Methi Palle Saaru)

Ma makes a soupy broth (Saaru) out of almost any leafy green vegetable available in the season and it tastes sublime yet delicious. On a whim of being experimental, I tried this recipe inspired by that idea and it turned out great. I enjoy bitter flavor, found prominently in Fenugreek leaves and Bittergourds, so did not find it overwhelming. If you are not used to bitter flavor, then you could pass off this recipe. 

Fenugreek leaves are found in abundance and the best lot arrives during cold and crispy winters. From a culinary standpoint, the leaves get along fabulously with garlic. Use Ghee for seasoning, it adds a good, soothing and subtle flavor. The tangy tamarind extract camouflages the bitter flavor of the leaves and once cooked, the tangy and bitter flavors balance each other out. Add a little more extract than you would normally add for this broth.

~ Fenugreek Leaves Saar ~
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Fenugreek Leaves (tightly packed) - 5 cups
Green Chillies (slit inserted) - 2
Turmeric powder - just a pinch

Coconut (fresh or frozen) - 2 tbsp
Tamarind pulp extract - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp

For Seasoning -
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Garlic (crushed) - 4 flakes
Red Chillies (split into two) - 2

Wash and rinse the leafy greens. Clean and pick only the fresh and tender leaves and leave out the stem. Chop the leafy greens in large shreds and keep aside. In a skillet, heat a tsp of ghee and lightly sear the green chillies. Add a small slit to allow the pressure to escape. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate. Add the leaves now, add a pinch of turmeric powder and allow them to sweat. The leaves will wilt in size leaving a bitter aroma. Turn off the flame and transfer to a plate, allow to cool. Once cooled partially, grind to a smooth paste with seared green chillies and coconut. Add little water to bring about a good consistency. Bring this paste to boil in an iron kadhai. Add the jaggery, once it melts and mellows, add the tamarind extract and add water if required. Adjust salt as per taste. Cover with lid on and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Once done, in a small frying pan, heat tad bit ghee and once hot enough, season with mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add curry leaves, red chillies followed by garlic. Pour this seasoning on the cooked broth and cover with a tight lid. Serve warm with rice.

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