Methi Paneer is yet another addition to the paneer recipe series. Again, there are different varieties we have enlisted. All of them are popular paneer recipes from Punjabi cuisine. You can watch the recipe videos on Tasted Recipes YouTube channel.
Today we are making fenugreek & cottage cheese curry. I mean methi paneer. 😀
Like I said above, methi paneer has two native ingredients—first, fresh methi, aka fenugreek leaves. Second, paneer, the Indian cottage cheese. The combination of these two items, along with Indian spices, gives you methi paneer.
Your methi paneer carries a variety of flavours in it. It is mildly hot, medium spicy & a little bitter due to fresh fenugreek seeds. In short, the outcome is a balanced combination of seasoning.
Needless to say, when you have a perfect blend of spices, the aroma can’t go unnoticed. In other words, the recipe contains item-specific fragrances—for example, woody, pungent, bitter, etc.
Since we have discussed the taste, I can’t resist speaking about the texture.
This dish has a gorgeous golden yellow colour with a light orange shade. The dark green fenugreek leaves on the paneer is a contrasting compliment. All in all, the recipe has a rich gradient. It looks beautiful as well as it is delicious.
Ingredients of Methi Paneer
- Fenugreek Leaves – A bunch of fenugreek leaves, the one having big leaves is enough. For our methi paneer, we won’t be using the Choti methi. The one we are using is popularly known as Badi methi or metho. Hence, wash & clean before using to remove the dirt. After that, finely chop the leaves.
- Tomato Puree – Here, we will use tomato puree instead of chopped tomatoes. Since we will not be grinding the ingredients to make a paste, we will use puree. Doing this will speed up the cooking process. Use red, ripe & juicy tomatoes.
- Whole Spices – To integrate strong & spicy flavours, we will use whole spices, aka cumin, bay leaf, clove, cinnamon & cardamom. It is the green cardamom and not the black one. Other spices are pretty self-explanatory & already available in your kitchen. Gather them.
- Green masala – For a hot & spicy taste, we have fresh green chilli, ginger, garlic & onion. Finely chop onions so that they fry easy & fast. If you have dark green & small green chillies, use them wisely as they are extremely hot. Long & pale green chillies are mild. So we have used the long ones.
- Masala Powders – In terms of powdered spices, we have coriander, red chilli, turmeric & garam masala powders. There are great substitutes for garam masala. For example, you can use madras curry powder. Then you can add achari masala or the hot kolhapuri masala. Even the pav bhaji masala is an excellent substitute. Suit yourself with any of them.
- Dairy items – For rich gravy, we need heavy cream & milk. Here milk might sound like an odd item, but it’s legitimate. The good news is your milk won’t curdle when it mixes with other ingredients. The next item is paneer, aka Indian cottage cheese. I say this always – your paneer must not be white & it must not stink. Rest everything is sorted.
The ingredient list concludes here. Use water as needed & add gradually to adjust the consistency of the gravy. Okay, now time for some tips.
TR’s extra shots to make Methi Paneer
While working with a lot of ingredients, you need to be cautious. There are high chances that things can go south. Therefore, here are some helpful tips.
- Methi (fenugreek leaves) – Toast methi leaves without water or oil. Do this until water evaporates from the leaves. The methi will become loose. If leaves start burning or stick at the bottom of the pan, then lower the flame.
- Cook, until oil separates – Doing this will properly cook all the masala. Do not hurry up the process, or the gravy will have a raw taste of ingredients.
- The green colour of methi – Maintaining the green texture of methi can be intimidating. Hence, keep the flame low. Cooking on a lower flame will maintain the colour. However, lowering the flame is not the only solution. If the leaves aren’t fresh, they will instantly leave the original colour.
- Heavy cream – It gives a smooth texture & taste to the gravy. Another critical point is adding curd, cashew paste, almond paste or yoghurt, which has the same result as heavy cream.
- Warm water – Adding warm water maintains the temperature of the gravy. If you add normal or cold water, the temperature will suddenly fall. Therefore, always use warm water.
- Sprinkle garam masala – There’s a reason why we aren’t frying garam masala with other items. The garam masala is a collection of spices. Frying or sauteeing it will neutralize the strong flavour & aroma. Hence, add the same with paneer. Doing this will give you the raw taste of a variety of powdered spices.
- Fried paneer – Frying paneer & then adding it to the gravy gives a crisp taste & texture. It elevates the overall taste & looks of the final dish. On the contrary, you can also add plain paneer instead of fried one.
Methi Paneer FAQs
It’s time to answer your queries. Here’s a list of questions with answers.
Can I substitute fresh methi with the dry one?
Always use fresh methi, not the dry one. Dry methi leaves (kasoori methi) are bitter & are used with the purpose of flavouring. So do not substitute the fresh leaves with dry ones.
Do I need to soak fenugreek leaves?
No, there’s no need to do so. Still, if you want to do then soak in saltwater overnight. Take care you don’t add too much salt. Dirt & impurities will wash away this way.
Can I cook methi separately?
Yes, but use the spice mix & masala as mentioned above or else it won’t be methi paneer anymore.
Can I replace fenugreek leaves with celery or other herbs?
No. There’s no substitute for fresh fenugreek leaves. I don’t recommend dry methi leaves due to their intense flavour. In short, don’t replace fenugreek with other herbs.
Can I add fenugreek seeds (methi dana)?
There’s no need to add methi dana. The fresh methi leaves are enough to leverage the bitter & spicy taste.
Is it necessary to toast the green methi leaves?
Yes, doing this will reduce a lot of manual labour while cooking. In addition, toasting will evaporate excess water from the leaves, making them dry. If you don’t do this, the methi leaves will release a lot of water that will unnecessarily stretch the cooking time. Hence, toasting is an inevitable process.
Can I skip adding milk to this recipe?
Yes, you can. Make sure you add heavy cream or curd instead. These items will maintain the silky-smooth taste & texture.
How much paneer do I need to make methi paneer for 15 people?
You will need approx 1 kg paneer to make this recipe for 15 people. Count 200 grams for every four people. Keep 100 grams extra paneer if in case you need it.
How many servings will I get from the above measurements?
Using a 200-250 grams paneer, you will get 3-4 serve adults. If you grate 50 grams paneer more, your servings will dramatically increase in just 200-250 grams of paneer. Try it.
How much time will methi paneer take to cook?
The cooking time is 30 to 45 minutes provided everything is ready. The washing, cleaning & chopping of fresh methi leaves is not included in the cooking time.
So that’s it with the methi paneer recipe today. We hope you enjoyed it. Let us know how you made it & what was your family member’s reaction. Did they like it or not. Comment below.