Sunday, 17 April 2011

Recipe: Indian Methi (Fenugreek) Chicken

I first smelt this herb in dried leaf form years ago, whilst at University. It isn't until now that I have had a proper go at cooking with it. If you like dishes such as Balti and Jalfrezi (i.e. medium hot tomato curries with a touch of yogurt) then you’ll really like this. All served up with an India Pale Ale named after the Bengal Lancer’s of the 19th century.

It is important you use thigh meat here as we are not searing the meat. Using breast meat will make the meat rubbery, less full flavoured and less authentic.


1 Tbsp Sunflower Oil & 1 Tbsp Mustard Oil (Or just 2tbsp Sunflower/Veg Oil)
1/3 tsp Methi (Fenugreek) Seeds
½ tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
2 Large Garlic Cloves, grated
1 inch piece Ginger, grated
3 small hot green chillies, chopped
½ tsp Turmeric
2 Vine ripened sweet red tomatoes, chopped fairly fine
2 Tbsp Ground Coriander
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
2 Tbsp Fat Free yogurt, whisked with 2Tbsp Water
450g Chicken Thigh meat, bone and skin removed cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp Rice vinegar (or other vinegar)
½ tsp sugar
1 ½ Tbsp Dried Methi Leaves, ground nearly to a powder
½ tsp Garam Masala (preferably homemade)
Salt to taste

Fire it up...

Heat a thick bottomed casserole pot or non-stick frying pan to a high heat, then add the oil(s). Add the Methi seeds and Cumin Seeds as you turn the heat down to medium. Allow the seeds to splutter for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped onion and fry for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a little bit of salt at this stage to season as you go and get flavour all through the dish. Add the garlic, ginger and green chillies. Fry for a further 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the turmeric and turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir for 30 seconds.

Now let’s make the sauce happen...

Add the chopped tomatoes, ground coriander and red chilli powder. Stir this all together, adding the yogurt slaked with water. Bring this to the boil, then turn the heat down to very low, put the lid on it and simmer gently for 5 minutes to bring the sauce together. Whilst this is happening, just mix the chicken with the little bit of vinegar, a pinch of salt, the sugar and the methi leaves.

Add the chicken and it’s mixture to the pan. Stir this all together and cover with the lid again. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes until the chicken is almost fully cooked.

Finish it off...

Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes to thicken the sauce and finish cooking the chicken. Add the Garam Masala and check the seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. Put the lid back on with the heat off to allow all the flavours to infuse whilst you prepare the rice on the plates.

Spoon the curry onto the plate with Basmati rice and garnish with freshly chopped coriander. Blow the top off your favourite beer or lager and enjoy.

N.B I left the skin on the thigh meat for more flavour but it adds more fat/oils to your dish. Remove the fat if preferred.

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