keema matar recipe with fresh methi (fenugreek) greens

This keema matar with methi (fenugreek) greens was cooked to make a quick meal when I was home between travels sometime last month. Methi wala keema matar as we call it, has been a favourite curry that doesn't compromise on the health quotient. A generous amount of fresh fenugreek greens balances this curry with added nutrients and fiber.

The garden greets me with some or the other fresh produce every time I come back and I don't need to buy vegetables immediately in that situation. The prospect of home cooked food using the garden produce feels comforting after a travel and cooking something simple yet tasty doesn't feel like a chore.

That day I just ordered some mutton mince, took out some peas to thaw and ventured out in the garden to pluck some fresh methi leaves. This ritual of plucking something fresh from the garden is deeply satisfying and gives me a sense of being grounded and of being taken care of by the garden angel. Garden angel. Yes.

As I said the recipe is simple and most essentially quite healthy. We had it with multi grain rotis and plain yogurt on the side. I even used some sour yogurt in the recipe as there is always some leftover yogurt in the fridge that turns slightly sour when you return after a week or so. You can replace the yogurt with fresh tomato puree.

(2-3 servings)

mutton mince 200 gm
green peas 150 gm (or 3/4 cup)
chopped methi leaves 2 cups or about 300 gm
yogurt (slightly tart) 1/3 cup
salt to taste
mustard oil or ghee 2 tsp

To be made into a paste
ginger roughly chopped 1 tbsp
garlic cloves 3-4
whole dry red chillies 3-4
whole coriander seeds 1 tbsp
whole cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
whole peppercorns 1 tsp
cloves 5
black cardamoms 2 small
tejpatta (Indian bay leaves) 2
turmeric powder 1 tsp


Since this recipe was meant to be a minimal effort cooking procedure, it involves making a paste of a few ingredients, frying the paste for a while and then adding 2-3 more ingredients in quick succession. The only chopping done was for methi leaves and it felt great to chop such freshly harvested greens. You can use about 50 gm of dried kasoori methi leaves to make it more convenient.

Make a paste of the listed ingredients.

Heat oil in a thick base pan and tip in the paste, add salt and bhuno (roast in the pan) the masala mix till it turns aromatic and looks glazed. On medium flame it takes about 6-8 minutes. Add the peas and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the mutton mince and bhuno more for about 8-10 minutes till the keema (mutton mince) changes colour. Takes another 6-8 minutes.

Now add the yogurt and the methi leaves and mix well. Cook covered but keep stirring once in a while. The mixture will sweat first and then all the water will be reabsorbed into the curry. The peas and mutton mince should get cooked within 30 minutes of total cooking time. Or sprinkle some water and cook till done.

Serve hot with your choice of flat breads (like roti, naan, roomali roti or kulcha). Some raita or plain yogurt or buttermilk feels great with this curry. You might want to have some raw salad on the side but we make do with sliced onions or radishes mostly for such meals.

Convenience of quick cooking but not food coming from packets and cartons works best. Make your meals simpler but tasty, choose fresh vegetables and herbs and unleash your creativity while you cook. Cooking is a meditative activity, a stress buster for me and I think it would work for more people too if there is a will to not eat food out of packets.

Cook even if you are exhausted, choose something simple yet tasty. I assure you will feel relaxed after it.

We have been traveling a lot this year. So much so that it has become a bit too exhausting and disorienting for the system. I feel distraught when I am back home as there is so much to sort out at home front when you come back including laundry and leftovers in the fridge. Housekeeping becomes really difficult when you have to manage it in between travels and the garden gets neglected a lot. I want to spend more time in the garden, cook leisurely meals for ourselves for sometime. I will have that leisurely time after next week I hope not just to cook but share the recipes and stories here as well.

Stay tuned and keep showering your love as always, it fuels this blog :-)


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