Sunday, February 19, 2012

Methi Begun -- the way my Ma makes it

My Mother's forte is the simple unassuming everyday Bengali meal which she cooks everyday. Even if there is two vegetables, a dal, a fish curry; all in their cold corning ware whites stacked up in the refrigerator, she cooks. I shout at her asking her to stay away from the kitchen, to relax; but at the end of the day, there is always a pyrex bowl resting on the counter, still warm and smelling better than Dior. And it doesn't even contain goat cheese. Or heavy cream. Or even a hint of saffron.

It is just a plain pyrex bowl with everyday Bengali food with a simple name that actually lists the vegetables in the dish instead of sounding like a bath product from the nawab's harem. Methi-Begun, Alu-Fulkopi, Bandhakopir tarakari, is how it goes instead of the glamorous Dal Maharani or Shahi Paneer or Chicken Nahanewali. Not that there is anything wrong with glamor or those names. It is just not what my Mother makes.

Now since all the food is cooked by the time I reach home and I have no intention to inquire after them or photograph them in dim CFL light, I never get around to writing about them. But my friend N (who has only recently got to know about the blog and so has taken over) insisted that I have pictures of my Ma doing the cooking and thus let the people know who is in actual charge of my kitchen. "Purdah Uthao", kind of thing you know.

So I said "okie-dokie" and strategically posed camera while my Mother cooked. I kept saying "Repeat, repeat" but she did not listen. She did not even want to place hand strategically over the kadhai with a spoon or something. Ultimately there are no good shots. But there is a very good Methi Begun-- fenugreek greens cooked with eggplant. And my Mother made it. And that is all that matters.

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My Mother plucks Methi leaves, then chops them, saving the stems to be put into Dal. Me ? I go snip-snip with scissors. No wonder her Methi Begun tastes better.

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Heat Oil. Temper with slit green chilies and kalonji aka Nigella seeds

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Add about 3 cups of cubed eggplants and saute till it softens. My Mother covers and lets the eggplants cook, removing the cover in between and stirring till eggplant is soft.

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Next is the Methi's turn. Add about 3 cups of loosely packed methi greens.

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Methi, Methi, fresh methi. What aroma. In between here add the salt too.

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Cook till Methi greens wilt, eggplants soften and they both cuddle in harmony.

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Done !!!


From a FB discussion there were new ideas about tempering the oil with methi seeds for a more intense flavor. I will try this next time.

Other Recipes with Methi Greens

Aloo Methi

Methi Dal

43 comments:

  1. I temper oil with methi seeds while preparing baingan Alloo,,,will try this sometime,,looks Delian

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    Replies
    1. Yes, i heard the methi seeds thing on FB too. Will try that sometimes

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    2. Hey Bong Mom, don't know what I enjoy more, your writing or the wonderful smells I experience while I read it!
      I am having a small dinner soon with special requests for Bong food and came in to peek at your recipes - particularly the non trad bong ones. In the process I learnt about Chicken Nahanewali and my life is altered forever!!!!!
      I'm going to make your Methi begun and hope like hell it looks as good as it does in your photographs!

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    3. Mamlu, that "Chicken Nahanewali" is a joke, I hope I have not offended anyone here with that.

      This methi dish is good but I must warn you that it will work for a small group of people else snipping through loads of methi might be hard work. For a larger group try alur dom

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  2. I'd made it from the little description you gave om FB, and it was absolutely scrumptious! I'm looking out for fresh methi so that I can make it again- the season is practcally over now:(

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    Replies
    1. Dipali -- you should make a karela with baingan now or better still neem leaves with baingan. This is the season for that kind of stuff in Kolkata.

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  3. Lovely blog n a lovely style of writing...will try this recipe very soon n update u.....love these simple veggies which are not dunked in masalas and u can get to taste the veggies in it.

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  4. Am really ROFL at the first few paras of this post - I miss blogging, wish I get something to blog about. Chicken Nahanewali, you're treading spoof and farce territory there, don't think I've laughed so much in recent days.

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  5. Hahahaha. ... What on earth is chicken nahanewali??! Recipe cheye boshbo kintu! Fresh ek gocha methi esheche aaj shokal shokal. ... paratha banabo bhablam ... ekhon eta banate icche korche .... gorom bhaat er shathe. ... dekhi obangali bor ki bole. Ebhabe toh no grain diet start e korte parchina.

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    1. Chicken bathed in cream and exotic Indian spices and flavours from exotic royal kitchens?

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  6. And oh. ... a big yay! for mashima. ... moms are the best.:-)

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  7. I make methi-baigan the same way excepting that i add a pinch of heeng to the oil....its a delicious recipe!

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  8. That is one simple but I bet a delicious dish. But eggplant and methi both have bitter qualities, do they play nice with each other? I know they will. Moms know best!

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  9. Darun baniecho.....maer recipes r always superb :-)

    Http://Onlyfishrecipes.blogspot.com/

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  10. Indo

    Eggplant is bitter ? Now that is not what I would hear from an eggplant lover :) Methi does have a light bitterness to it but the fresh methi leaves when cooked with other vegetables has absolutely no bitterness remaining.
    We also cook bitter gourd with eggplants as we feel the fleshy, buttery sweetish taste of the eggplant balances out the bitterness.

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    Replies
    1. True not all eggplants are bitter but the smaller do tend to have a slightly bitter taste. You are right though I love them all the same.

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  11. Looks excellent, I can understand, it tastes too! A pure motherly dish. Mane, amon dish ja ma banale khete khub bhalo basi, kintu nije aj porjonto banai ni. aar chicken nahanewali bostu ta ki? ak pukur jholer modhye chara chicken?

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  12. I never thought this two veggies could go so well together and quiet a simple side dish to put together.
    Mother knows well how to prepare bitter veggie to go neutral :)

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  13. my mom adds begun to her methi too...wonder if it is something she picked up at delhi...banu made methis yesterday and I asked her to add begun to it

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  14. Nice curry recipe. Looks so good. Healthy one too. YUM!

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  15. Being not an onion-garlic person,I've always been a huge fan of Methi! My mom's version is a little dry and oil heavy but I love your version(I mean,that of your mom's) more. It looks so fresh and healthy(not to mention yummy)!

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  16. it's been years since i came back from work to ma's cooking! her methi begun looks just like that. and i go snip-snip with scissors just like you do.

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  17. hi BongMom. I love your blog. It's bloody brilliant. Bengali cuisine and bengalis in general fascinated me as I spent my childhood in Calcutta.i am sure you know what i mean and won't take offence:)
    you are a life-saver for teaching a cash-strapped student how to cook.
    still gushing as the recipes on here are easier to follow than others that are accompanied by a video on youtube.

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    Replies
    1. Are you serious ? made me very happy though

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    2. Absolutely. I have tried your dudh maach and tomato diye macher jhol and they are gob-smacking delicious and easy to make. Plus love your insights on cooking and general and life in particular. Btw I am a Punjabi but will have to be anon for now as i don't blog.

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  18. I love this write up Sandeepa...maybe because I'd never know how it'd be to have my mother loitering and working around in my kitchen....I can only imagine, thanks to your words :)

    Lovely recipe...will try it soon! Kakima ke thank you janio :)

    Sohini

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    Replies
    1. Aww..Hugs Sohini. I am sure you will make sweeter memories with your daughter

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  19. First para- Chicken nahanewali ..OMG! :-D..still some
    more :-D ( and I am still laughing my heart out)..eggplants here in abroad are not the kind of begun we get back home..onek tel lagey bhajte/taste O alada hoye..keno janina..I have really stopped buying eggplants here..eyi baar eyita dekhe ki khete iche hoche..kalke sahosh kore eggplants kine anbo..hugs and smiles

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    Replies
    1. Ei tumi Japanese eggplant try koro. Amar MIL ekhane ele bolen oita onar better lage.

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  20. I like your kadhai! I am currently looking for good kadhai/wok type recommendations to replace my old non-stick faithful. Do you mind telling me which brand you have and how does it work for you? Does it need a lot of fat during cooking to avoid the food sticking?

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    1. It is an all-clad stainless steel saucier. Check in amazon http://www.amazon.com/All-Clad-Stainless-2-Quart-Saucier-Pan/dp/B00005AL5P

      I love it. Not a lot of fat but I would say a little more than a non-stick pan.

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  21. Hi Sandeepa,

    I am Geetashree. I stay in Delhi. I have been introduced to your blog recently. I had lately become a lousy cook. Following your recipes have perked up my dishes. Thanks for sharing the way you share all your secrets.

    Love

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  22. Hi Sandeepa,

    I have been reading your blog but always in rush :). Love the recipe its simple and sounds delicious. I'm sure it tasted heavenly!!. Will try it next time when I have both. Nothing can beat mom's cooking :).

    Hugs
    ~SP

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    Replies
    1. Oh no, do slow down. That is what it is meant to do :)

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  23. Hello Sandeepa,
    I came across your site through Raji (Miri). I knew Raji through a common friend.
    I love your recipes and have always wanted to learn Bengali cooking from someone. And now I have found that perfect place......I'm sure I will be making many of your recipes especially the fish curries. Actually everything on your site is so tempting, I know I will attempt to make many dishes from your site!!! Thanks.

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  24. Tried this out last weekend...hubby walked in the house and said something smells good in here...LOL. I have never made this or had it before, we really liked it and will definitely be making it more often. i also added in a few potatoes just because i have weakness for them, unfortunately. Thanks, Bong mom, for sharing this recipe.

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  25. Hugs to your Mom! In fact, to all our Moms! Women power!(flexing muscle) haha! Absolutely delicious! Ummm, the aroma, lovely!

    If don't want to have that bitter taste, I suggest, soaking the chopped methi leaves in salted water for sometime and then draining it off! Down goes the bitterness down the drain! But then what is methi without its bitterness!

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  26. Hi Sandeepa,
    I have always liked ur site.. i love the way u write.
    ur posts always make me smile.
    Looking at this sabzi, i got inspired and got fresh methi and baingan for this. i sauteed a little onions first and then followed the rest. in the end i grated a small piece of paneer sitting in the fridge and added half teaspoon garam masala. the dish turned out very delicious. my hubby asked for seconds and thirds and was very happy to know that he will be getting this subzi in his lunch box the next day.
    I never imagined baingan and methi combo will taste this good. thanks to u and ur mom for introducing a new favourite subzi in our home.

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  27. i'm in the kitchen this very minute, with the laptop open to your methi begun. the begun is cut up. and the methi - well, today, i'm not going snip-snip with the scissors, in honour of your ma's recipe. my daughter's on the kitchen floor, painstakingly plucking leaves from stem.

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