Fenugreek leaves, although often used as vegetables, add heaps of flavour to a dish when used as a herb, like with methi chicken or chicken with dried fenugreek leaves, or mutton with fenugreek leaves, or raitas even. The aroma is strong and unique, much like the aroma of any other herb like rosemary or mint, and the taste is a unique blend of bitterness and tang. No, you cannot taste this bitterness, instead it dissolves to bring out the flavour of the chicken. It’s similar to the taste of roast chicken made with orange halves: the peel and the seeds offer bitterness and the fruit, the tang — and we get to taste a medley of these two along with the savouriness of the chicken.
Methi chicken is a common dish in India, having different names and variations in the recipe throughout the land. The name remains the same thanks to the distinctive flavour of the herb. This particular preparation is North Indian, as is evident by the lack of curry leaves and the use of yogurt.
The list of ingredients — other than the chicken and fenugreek leaves — is long only to inhibit the dried fenugreek leaves from completely taking over the dish, like it most certainly can. The yogurt makes it a little creamy too, and if you’re making this dish with ghee, it’ll smell heavenly. And don’t get put of by the marination time and the prepping of the onion and tomatoes. If you can begin with the marination, then while the chicken marinates, you can prep your other ingredients and start cooking; when it’s time to add the marinated chicken, they will have marinated enough.
Take a break from your regular chicken curries — try methi chicken soon! It can be paired with chappattis (or any other Indian or Middle Eastern bread) and rice.
Methi Chicken | Chicken with Dried Fenugreek Leaves
Makes 4 servings
- 600 g (1.2 lb) chicken on the bone
- 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
- 3 tablespoons thick curds or yogurt
- 3 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-inch piece cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamons
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- 2 medium tomatoes (150-160 g)
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
- 1 tablespoons coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)
- 1/2 to 1 cup water
- Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl add the ginger garlic paste, yogurt, salt, chilli powder and turmeric powder, and mix.
- Add the chicken and coat it evenly with the marinade. Allow it to rest while you prepare your other ingredients, and start cooking.
- Take the 1/4 cup dried fenugreek leaves and add to it hot water. Let it rest.
- Place a heavy bottomed vessel, preferably non-stick (a pressure cooker is fine too) over medium heat and pour in the oil.
- While the oil heats up, slice the onions thin and chop up the tomatoes.
- When the oil is hot, add to it the bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, cardamons and fennel seeds.
- In 30-40 seconds the air must be heady with the aroma of spices. Add in the onions.
- Sauté until it start turning golden, and immediately add the tomatoes, coriander powder and cumin powder.
- Sauté for a few minutes, until the tomatoes are pulpy and the oil rise over the masala.
- Drain the soaked fenugreek leaves, discard the water and add the leaves in, and mix it about for a minute.
- Raise the flame and add the marinated chicken — empty the marinade into your cooking pot too.
- Sauté till you can see the chicken turning brown and begins releasing water.
- At this point, add in the water (1/4-1/2 cup if you want it thick and 1 cup for some gravy) and cover it, and let the chicken cook.
- It should be done in 15 minutes.
- Let it rest for 15 minutes before you serve it. Garnish with coriander leaves and dried fenugreek leaves that are crushed between the palms of your hands (both garnishes are optional)
Let us know how it turned out in the comments below. Also, take a picture and post it on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #notjustspice. Want to try another chicken curry? Try the real quick and easy chicken curry. Or this chicken pepper fry as a side dish and this green chicken pulao if you want another Indian chicken dish sans curry.
Dried Fenugreek Leaves (NDTV Smart Cooky)
Fenugreek Recipes (BBC)