Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bitter is Better

Traditional Indian cuisine is based on the principles of the ancient scriptures of the Ayurveda. One of the commonly consumed spices in India is the Fenugreek, both the leaves and the seeds. Seeds of fenugreek contain the most potent medicinal effects of this plant and the use of Fenugreek seeds is quite common in “tadkas” in a variety of everyday menus like dal and vegetable dishes called subzi. The seed is also said to aid in the better absorption of sugar hence it is highly recommended for diabetics.

A traditional dish from the Western Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan is Methi dana aur Papad ki subzi, a dish usually made during the Fall/Autumn. The reason being that fenugreek seeds are said to be a natural expectorant and aids in loosening phlegm and mucus.

Raw fenugreek seeds are very bitter hence the title, however a lot of the bitterness can be extracted by soaking the seeds in warm water overnight and the boiling it until the seeds (aka dana) almost triple in size, develop a gel like outer covering and can easily be squeezed between two fingers. I like this dish as it is fairly easy to make and tastes like you labored all the day in the kitchen!


2 tbsp fenugreek seeds (presoaked or cooked in the microwave)
3 raw papads, broken into bite size pieces
2 tbsp yogurt
1 ½ - 2 cups water
2 tsp oil + 1 tsp ghee
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp jaggery or sugar
2-3 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
salt to taste

Soak fenugreek seeds in water overnight or zap in the microwave in 2 minute intervals, discarding cooked water each time for a total of 8-10 minutes, I often do this! Discard the water and keep aside. Break Papad into bite size pieces. Beat water and yogurt well making sure that there are no lumps.

Heat oil and ghee in a pan, add the cumin and mustard seeds and when they sputter add the curry leaves and turmeric powder. Now add the yogurt water, soaked fenugreek seeds, coriander powder, cumin powder and chilli powder and salt. Allow the gravy to come to a rolling boil (on a medium flame). Add the broken pieces of papad and cook for a few minutes until the papad pieces soften. Add grated jaggery and the chopped coriander leaves. Serve immediately with warm white rice.


Red Chillies said...

Hi Rupa, thanks for dropping by. This is a new concept and new idea. I will surely add this to my roundup!

A Virtual Vegetarian said...

...thanks Red Chillies!

Laura Paterson said...

This is a lovely recipe - thanks for submitting to Think Spice!

Daily Meals said...

Papad subzi looks great...I too posted papd sabzi in my blog...adding soaked methi dana is a good and healthy time I will try your version...

Sharon said...

what an amazing dish! I just tried it, and I served it with unpolished brown basmati rice. It was an instant hit.

Thank you.

- Sharon (

A Virtual Vegetarian said...

Hi Sharon,

Thank you for visiting my blog, then for trying the dish, and finally taking the time to post your comments!

I'm glad that the dish was a hit and serving it with unpolished brown rice makes it very wholesome.....I think I will serve the same way next time!