In a grinder jar or blender, add cumin seeds, chopped onions, cashews, garlic, ginger and green chilies.
Blend or grind to a smooth paste withput adding any water.
If you are not able to blend, then you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
For cooking the green peas, you can either boil them in a pan with 1.5 cups water for 7 to 8 minutes until tender or steam them in an Instant pot for 3 to 5 minutes adding about 1 to 1.25 cups water in the steel insert.
You can also boil the green peas in a stove-top pressure cooker for 5 to 6 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the cooked water if you have boiled the peas.
Sautéing ground paste
Heat ghee (clarified butter) or oil in a pan or kadai.
When the ghee melts or becomes lightly hot, add the ground paste.
Sauté the paste for 6 to 7 minutes on a low heat until you see the fat separating from the sides.
Stir often when sautéing so that the paste does not stick to the pan. You should see fat releasing from the sides and the paste will also have a nice aroma.
You will see the paste coming together and becoming glossy. Do not brown the paste.
If the ground paste sticks to the pan or gets browned add a few splashes of water. Mix, deglaze and continue to sauté.
Making methi matar malai
Add in the chopped fenugreek leaves and sauté further for 2 to 3 minutes.
Then add ½ cup water or the stock/water in which the green peas were cooked in two parts. Mix thoroughly and simmer the gravy for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir at intervals.
Add the boiled peas and cream.
Simmer the gravy for 5 to 6 minutes on a low heat.
Finally add the sugar and salt. Mix again. At this step, you can opt to sprinkle 2 to 3 pinches of garam masala powder.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve methi matar malai hot or warm with naan, paratha or roti.
If using fresh homemade cream or malai: Refrigerate about ¼ cup of clotted cream or malai first.Then whip it till it becomes smooth and soft. Don't add warm malai or clotted cream straightaway from the milk as this won't give you a good creamy texture. I used packaged light cream but you can get the same results with fresh malai. You don't need to whip or beat the cream if you are using packaged cream.
If the fenugreek leaves are too bitter: Chop the fenugreek leaves and take them in a bowl. Sprinkle some salt and mix very well. Keep aside for 15 minutes. Then squeeze the fenugreek leaves in your palms. The bitter juices go away this way.
If adding whipping cream or heavy cream: When you include whipping cream or heavy cream in the recipe, then add ¼ cup of either.
Green Peas: You can add either fresh green peas or frozen green peas. Make sure to boil or steam the green peas before you add to the curry.