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. In Kashmir, it is usually pronounced as tsaman (paneer / Indian cottage cheese) which eventually become chaman for the rest of India.
I was first introduced to this dish at very popular Bombay Post, the bollywood theme restaurant in Bangalore, which unfortunately had been closed permanently.
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 most of these restaurants adds cream or melon seed paste or cashew paste to enhance its taste, making it rich and creamy. But, unfortunately the dish is very much rustic, very original in taste and clean flavours.
As far as I remember, the Bombay Post version of methi chaman uses extremely finely chopped leaves of methi and spinach, surely a test of one’s knife skills. I had tried to achieve that by pulsing them in mixer in small shots into a coarse paste. This recipe does not uses tomatoes, onions and cashew or melon seed paste and not even cream.
If you love pureed spinach in gravy, am sure you will love this sabzi diwani handi or Indian mix vegetable curry in spinach gravy.
Kashmiri Methi Chaman
- 1 bunch Fenugreek leaves (methi)
- 1 bunch Spinach
- 1 cup Crumbled paneer / Indian cottage cheese
- 1 tbsp Ginger paste
- 1 tbsp Garlic (roasted and grated)
- 3 Green chillies as per taste
- 1 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1 -2 tsp Kashmiri garam masala
- 1-2 Kashmiri red chillies (dry)
- ¼ tsp Seeds of fenugreek (methi dana)
- 1-2 Garlic roasted
- Few crushed leaves of kasuri methi
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 tbsp Butter
- Salt to taste
- 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.
- Squeeze out the excess water from the spinach and methi leaves, blend to a coarse paste in mixer with chopped green chillies.
- 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.So I have prepared 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.
- 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.
- Add the coriander powder, stir and toast it lightly with the oil and add the spinach - methi puree.
- Stir on a low heat, until all the water has evaporated and the oil separates out.
- 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.
- Add the butter and crushed few leaves of kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) between your palms and sprinkle over methi chaman.
- Serve hot the haryali methi chaman with garlic paratha / tandoori roti or Naan.