About this dish
Methi Malai Matar is a Punjabi restaurant favourite. Characterised by a silky and creamy white sauce with fenugreek leaves that add lots of depth to the dish and green peas for freshness and sweetness. This is a very different Punjabi dish, that steers away from the tomato-onion curry that you often expect from Punjabi dishes. The creamy curry in this case comes from malai or cream that's usually the base of the sauce which is then thickened with a cashew nut and poppy seed paste.
Our recipe, however, is a somewhat lighter version that doesn't use heaps of cream and yet in no way compromises on the creaminess that this dish calls for. We have to be honest and confess, our Methi Malai Matar recipe doesn't actually contain any malai at all but we promise you, no one will notice!
Instead of using cream to add the signature creaminess to this dish, we use the French technique of making a roux with flour and butter and adding milk to it to make a béchamel sauce with an Indian twist. In our recipe video, we also used dried methi leaves instead of fresh methi which is very difficult to find here in Berlin. So we wanted to show you that it's possible to make this dish, just as well, without fresh methi. We've also made variants of this dish where in addition to kasoori methi, we've added fresh dill leaves or cubes of paneer to switch things up.
If you're looking to try out a different type of Punjabi dish, this is certainly one to turn to. Methi Malai Matar is best served with some roti or naan.
- 1 cup or 150g peas (frozen, thawed)
- 1/2 cup or 20g (or 1 cup fresh) kasoori methi**
- 25g butter
- 25g flour
- 65g onion
- 3-4 cloves or 20g garlic
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
- 30g ginger
- 1 tsp oil
- 500ml milk
- 10 or 20g cashew nuts
- 1 tbsp or 10g white poppy seeds
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Soak the cashew nuts and white poppy seeds in 1/2 cup of water till they are completely soft (2-3 hours). Alternately, you can boil them for 5-7 minutes and cool. Blend the cashew nuts and poppy seeds into a smooth paste.
- Purée the red onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli and cumin seeds in a blender till smooth.
- In a hot pan or kadhai, add some oil and fry the onion paste till it starts to brown and is well roasted. Move the paste to a side of the pan while you prepare the roux.
- Add the butter to the pan and once melted, add the flour. Roast the butter and flour on low heat and mix to form a roux. Roast the roux for 1-2 minutes till the flour starts to smell a little nutty, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula to make sure it doesn't stick or burn.
- Then mix the two pastes in the pan together. With the pan on low heat, add about 1 cup of milk to the pan first and whisk it in together with the paste till it's well combined. Gradually add the rest of the milk while whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
- Let this mixture come to a simmer on low heat and whisk intermittently to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- At this point also add in the cashew nut paste and the spices - 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp (or to taste) salt, and 1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg. Whisk in all the spices and let the mixture come to a simmer.
- Once the mixture starts bubbling it will start to thicken and turn into a creamy béchamel sauce. Once it has thickened, add in the fenugreek leaves (fresh or dried - whichever you're using) and once they soften, add the peas.
- Finishing touches include 1/2 tsp of garam masala and serve with roti, naan or paranthas.
**Fenugreek leaves or Methi - This dish is usually made with fresh fenugreek or methi leaves but if you cannot find fresh methi you can very well make this dish with dried fenugreek leaves as well.
Variations: One of our favourite variations to this dish is making Methi Malai Matar with the addition of paneer. Just add 100g of cubed paneer to the curry along with the peas to give this dish a special twist.