The base for this curry is a lot like a Spanish sofrito– onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. I used canned, pureed tomatoes, but be sure to dice the onions and bell peppers really small. I also had a bunch of methi (fenugreek) leaves crying out to be used, so in they went.
To spice up my curry, I used a mix of garam masala and chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, my favorite Latin American product– its smoky, sizzling-hot richness gives just that hint of added mystery and oomph, I think, to some spicy Indian dishes.
Methi, for those who are not familiar with it, is one of the best greens you can eat for your health. Its pleasant bitterness is said to work wonders for diabetics and in reducing cholesterol levels. The small, oval, dark-green leaves and bitter flavor distantly resemble watercress, although methi is tougher and needs more cooking time to make it reach its full delicious potential.
And delicious it is. One of my favorite ways to eat methi is just to saute and cook it down with onions and potatoes and a few spices. Make sure you caramelize the onions and potatoes with a touch of sugar and you have an ultra-delicious subzi that’s perfect with any dal.
This recipe’s more of a gravy, though, and there are no potatoes here, although you could certainly add them– they’d be great in here.
Here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!
1 bunch methi leaves (about 3 cups chopped). Clean the methi, which is usually quite gritty, by swirling it in a large pot of water 3-4 time. The grit will all fall to the bottom of the pot. Cut off the thick stems and roots and chop the leaves and more tender stems fairly fine (my mom would use only the leaves and remove all the stems, but I like keeping in the smaller stems which cook up very tender).
1 bell pepper (I used a yellow pepper I had on hand but feel free to substitute with green or red)
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
1 tbsp finely grated ginger’
1 8-oz package of button mushrooms, sliced
1 chipotle chili, minced, with 2 tsp of the adobo sauce (Use more or less per your taste– this much is quite spicy)
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup coconut milk (for a delicious variation, try substituting with 3 tbsp cashew pieces, soaked and ground up with 1/4 cup of water into a fine paste)
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a skillet.
Add the onions and bell peppers and saute until they start to turn golden brown.
Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute, then add the tomatoes and the methi.
Let the mixture cook down until the tomato starts to express the oil and is a few shades darker.
Add the chipotle chili and the mushrooms and 1 cup of water. Cover and let it cook about 10 minutes or until the methi is quite tender.
Add the coconut milk or cashewnut paste and salt to taste. Turn off the heat.
Garnish, if you like, with some coriander leaves.
Serve hot with rice or any Indian flatbread.