Haryali methi chaman – Bombay Post style

Haryali methi chaman or Fenugreek flavoured Indian cottage cheese is a highly fragrant and flavourful dish from the beautiful valley of Kashmir. It is mainly the forte of Kashmiri pandits for whom the food is a part of their ethnic identity, and avoids mainly onion, garlic and tomatoes and off course any non-veg items. In Kashmir, it is usually pronounced as tsaman (paneer / Indian cottage cheese) which eventually become chaman for the rest of India.

You might be wondering by now, that if it is a Kashmiri dish then how Bombay or Bombay post is related to it as I have stated in the heading.  In Bangalore, there used to be a North Indian restaurant called “Bombay Post” in Old Airport road nestled in the ground floor of Carlton tower. It was my most favoured restaurant and I have dined there for umpteenth time. They used to prepare best dal makhniin the town apart from their wide range of kebab (shikampuri and chelo the best), perfectly themed with murals of Bollywood greats from early 60′s to 70′s, recreating that magical aura of Bollywood paired perfectly with some great foods. After the mishaps at Carlton tower, the restaurant get closed for in-definite time and I am sure Bangalore foodies surely miss it.

methi chaman

methi chaman full of flavour and rich in taste

Haryali methi chaman at Bombay Post was simply out of this world, a perfect blend of taste and flavour, sans any cream or tomatoes or dry fruit paste. In most of the restaurants, it is hard to distinguish between a palak paneer and methi chaman and adding cream or melon seed paste or cashew paste to enhance the richer taste, is quiet an easy task. But the challenge is to make it richer and tastier without using any of those things. Their lies the art and skill of chefs at Bombay Post.

While I was searching for a similar recipe, I come across Vaisahli’s blog which has some wonderful collection of recipes, and being vegan she has added some fried cubes of tofu to it. I tweak it a little to be in sync with her recipe and at the same time wants to recreate that magical taste of haryali methi chaman of Bombay Post.

palak methi chaman

methi chaman served with garlic paratha

As far as I remember, the Bombay Post version of methi chaman uses extremely finely chopped leaves of methi and spinach, which I try to achieve by blending them in mixer to a coarse paste. This recipe does not uses tomatoes, onions and cashew or melon seed paste and not even cream.

Recipe: Haryali methi chaman / Indian spinach – fenugreek curry

Summary: Haryaki methi chaman – a Kashmiri delicacy

Ingredients

  • Fenugreek leaves (methi): 1 bunch
  • Spinach : 1 bunch
  • Crumbled paneer / Indian cottage cheese: 1 cup
  • Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
  • Garlic (roasted and grated): 1 tbsp
  • Green chillies as per taste: 3-4 long
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Kashmiri garam masala: 1-2 tsp (see below in the method)
  • For temeprring:
  • Kashmiri red chillies (dry): 1-2
  • Seeds of fenugreek (methi dana): 1/4 tsp
  • Garlic roasted: 1-2
  • Garnishing:
  • Few crushed leaves of kasuri methi
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Butter: 1 tbsp
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Chop the spinach and methi leaves (only leaves, no stem) and wash it under running water. Blanch the spinach and methi leaves in salted lukewarm water for few minutes and again refresh it in cold water. Allow it to cool down a bit.
  2. Squeeze out the excess water from the spinach and methi leaves, blend to a coarse paste in mixer with chopped green chillies.
  3. Kashmiri garam masala usually includes shahjeera (caraway seeds), cumin seeds, nutmeg, star anise, mace, black peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and both green and black cardamom. This spice mix is perfect for biryani or meat dishes but since nutmeg, star anise and mace has a very strong flavour which may not goes very well with methi chaman.
  4. So I prepare a fine mix of 1/2 tsp each of roasted shahjeera, cumin, black peppercorns, cloves, green and black cardamoms and one inch piece of cinnamon.
  5. Heat some oil in a skillet and temper the oil with dry Kashmiri red chillies, seeds of fenugreek (methi dana) and roasted garlic. Add the ginger and garlic to it and fry for sometime.
  6. Add the coriander powder, stir and toast it lightly with the oil and add the spinach – methi puree.
  7. Stir on a low heat, until all the water has evaporated and the oil separates out.
  8. Add the crumbled paneer / Indian cottage cheese, fold in well, add further the Kashmiri garam masala and cook for few more minutes. Adjust the salt and check the seasonings. Turn off the heat.
  9. Add the butter and crushed few leaves of kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) between your palms and sprinkle over methi chaman.
  10. Serve hot the haryali methi chaman with garlic paratha / tandoori roti or Naan.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: Indian (Northern)

My rating 5 stars: ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Verdict: methi chaman turns out to be very good, full of flavour, adding butter to it really helps to give it a richer taste and I think was able to come little close to the famed Bombay Post version of Methi chaman, though I am sure that was tastier and a well-kept secret too. Nevertheless, I am loving it and will try again to make it more perfect.

Enjoy your Tuesday

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