Pulao / pilaf is a rice dish commonly prepared in the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. It is basically rice flavored with spices and veggies or meat.
Pulao has many different variations, depending on the kind of spices and veggies being used in the recipe. I have been eating different variations of spiced rice since my childhood. I find it very comforting, satisfying and if cooked properly, it can turn out to be one-pot meal. Accompanied with some pickle and yogurt / raita, one doesn’t need anything else.
Whenever I face problems in feeding a certain vegetable to DH or DD, that’s when I come up with such alternatives wherein it is easier for me to feed them the veggies without much complains and grumbling. Methi or fenugreek leaves is one such veggie. It has slight bitter taste to it. Both my loved ones are not too fond of methi. Whereas methi is a very nutritious leafy vegetable with numerous health benefits. Hence it is important for me to incorporate methi into our diet in some way or the other; be it pulao or parathas.
Apart from the nutritional benefits, methi also helps increase breast milk production in lactating women. In India usually post-delivery, women are encouraged to consume methi in different forms by their mothers and mother-in-laws, which is a common practice. I remember I was compelled to eat methi laddoos just after I had DD; undoubtedly I disliked them to core!…but had no choice!:P
Usually it is a common practice to pick the leaves before cooking. Tender stems can be left in. However for this recipe I have used baby methi leaves wherein the leaves are really small and the stems are very tender. So I just washed the leaves well.
I left the leaves along with their stems. Just chopped them up roughly. After all why leave the stems when they are loaded with vital nutrition. Also it is advisable to use tomatoes in this recipe. Tomatoes will help cut down the bitterness of methi leaves.
This recipe of methi matar pulao is simple, easy, delicious and with the kind of flavor it imparts, even kids are bound to enjoy it.
Methi leaves – 1 bunch (washed and chopped roughly)
Rice – 1.5 cups (washed)
Green peas – 1/2 cup
Asafoetida / Hing – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick – 1 small stick
Bay leaf – 2-3
Black peppercorns – 5-6
Cloves – 5-6
Garlic – 2-3 cloves
Ginger – 1 small piece
Tomatoes – 2 finely chopped
Green chillies – 2-3 slit lengthwise
Kasuri methi powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Goda / kala masala – 1 tsp (optional)
Salt – as per taste
Grind the ginger-garlic into a paste.
Take some oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. Let them splutter. Then add hing and all whole garam masala spices – cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorn, bay leaves. Stir for few seconds.
Then add the ginger-garlic paste and turmeric powder. Saute for a few mins until the raw smell is gone.
Then add the tomatoes and the rest of the spice powders, i.e, red chilli powder, goda masala and garam masala powder. Mix well. Cover and cook until the tomatoes are mushy and oil starts oozing out from the sides.
Add the methi leaves. Mix well and saute for a few mins. Add in the green peas. Mix well.
Then add in the rice. Mix everything well for a few seconds.
Add water. For 1.5 cups of rice, I added 3 cups of water.
Add the kasoori methi powder, slit green chillies and salt.
Put the heat on high. Let the water come to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, Lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes or until the water is almost absorbed. Then put the heat on sim and let it cook on dum for 10 more minutes.
When the rice is done, switch off the flame. Do not open the lid for 10 mins.
After 10 mins, open the lid and very lightly fluff up the rice using a fork.
Serve hot with raita and pickle!