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.
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.
Heat Oil. Temper with slit green chilies and kalonji aka Nigella seeds
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.
Next is the Methi's turn. Add about 3 cups of loosely packed methi greens.
Methi, Methi, fresh methi. What aroma. In between here add the salt too.
Cook till Methi greens wilt, eggplants soften and they both cuddle in harmony.
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