Aloo methi is a classic Indian side dish made with tender potatoes and flavorful fenugreek leaves from Punjabi cuisine. Here I share my family's authentic easy recipe that requires only a few key ingredients and is great for making it either vegetarian or vegan-friendly.
Remove the leaves from the stems of the methi/fenugreek leaves. This can take a good amount of time, and I like to prepare a large batch at once to keep in the fridge for about a week or so and have ready as needed.
After plucking the leaves rinse them thoroughly in cool running water in a large bowl. Firstly soak the leaves in enough water for a few minutes. Add some vinegar and baking soda to the water. This gets rid of pesticides if any.
Swish and move them with your hands, so that they are cleaned thoroughly of any soil or mud clinging on the stems. This needs to get washed off. See that the leaves are clean and devoid of any muddy particles on them.
Drain all the water and soak them in fresh water for a few more minutes. Drain the water. Repeat this process once or twice. Finally, drain all the water.
Now chop the fenugreek leaves. You could do this with a knife or chop them in a food processor. While chopping in the food processor, make sure you do not chop it to fine or make a paste of it.
Rinse, peel and chop the potatoes into small cubes or squares.
In a heavy skillet, kadai or pan, heat up the oil. Add the potatoes first.
Saute the potatoes for some minutes on medium-low to medium heat until they start looking crisp and are lightly browned from the edges.
Add the chopped green chilies and asafoetida. Stir. If you don't have green chilies, add about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of red chili powder or cayenne pepper.
Making aloo methi
Now add the chopped methi (fenugreek leaves). Mix very well.
Add salt. Give a good stir, and let the aloo methi continue to cook for a couple of minutes uncovered on medium-low to medium heat.
When the methi begins to produce water, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 6 more minutes on a low to medium-low heat.
The liquid should be totally evaporated in the dish and the fenugreek leaves will become completely wilted. Saute for a couple more minutes to get the potatoes and methi nice and dry.
If your potatoes are not quite cooked when the liquid has dried up, add a tablespoon or so of water and continue to cook. Later, if you see any extra water in the pan, then simmer until all the water is dried up.
Once cooked, you can either mix in a bit of butter for extra rich flavor or serve plain as-is.
Serve aloo methi with Indian breads like paratha, roti, naan. You could even make this dish as a side vegetable with your Indian main course.
Usually there won't be any leftovers. If there are leftovers then place in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Reheat by simply warming up in a small pan or skillet sprinking few drops of water.
Potatoes: Use potatoes that hold together and do not become crumbly or mealy when cooked. Red skinned potatoes, baby potatoes, yukon gold, and new potatoes are good options. If using baby potatoes, then keep the skin on.
Methi stems: The stems of fenugreek leaves are not eaten. The methi leaves are plucked and the stem is discarded. But you can keep the top tender stem shoots.
Mustard oil: Any neutral-flavored oil can be subbed with mustard oil. You can even use butter or ghee. But do not use olive oil or sesame oil.
Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) - Add about 3 to 4 tablespoons of kasuri methi in place of fresh methi leaves.
Proportion of potatoes and fenugreek leaves: I keep a balance of both but you can increase the proportion of either according to your preferences.
How do you take the bitterness out of methi?
Place the leaves in a bowl and lightly sprinkle them with a bit of salt. Stir to coat and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse the leaves, strain, and add to the dish.
Alternatively, blanch the leaves for just a minute or so in boiling salted water. Then drain, rinse under cool water, and use.