Bengali Fenugreek Potatoes (Bengali Aloo Methi)
Potatoes are commonly paired with fresh Fenugreek leaves all throughout the Indian sub-continent. This is true especially in Bengal, Bangladesh, and the Northwest region, where preparations of Potatoes and Fenugreek, or Aloo Methi, will usually be enhanced with the five-spice blend known, in the Bengali language, as Panch Phoron.
Using Fresh Fenugreek
Fresh Fenugreek is not always easy to come by for most North-American cooks. If it is unavailable, one can always substitute some other green, leafy vegetable and use a tablespoon or so of the dried Fenugreek leaves that are fairly commonly available in Indian groceries as Kasoori Methi. Fresh Watercress would make a terrific replacement for the greens, or, failing that, baby spinach would work quite nicely too.
The Basic Method
One could, if necessary, sauté the potatoes over a low heat in order to cook them to a nice golden brown. However, it is more convenient to simply toss them with a little salt and oil and roast them in the oven.
When using whole spices, as is the case with Panch Phoron, the seeds must be ‘tempered’ in the cooking oil before the main ingredients are added to the pan. This process, which essentially involves briefly frying the seeds, helps develop their flavor, which is passed into the cooking oil and, in turn, infuses the ingredients subsequently cooked in that oil.
In this recipe, butter is being used as the cooking medium, but you could also use Ghee, or even plain vegetable oil.
Once the potatoes have been sautéed and infused with the flavor of the spices, the Fenugreek can be added. This should be fried just long enough to make the leaves wilt so as to preserve the pretty green color for service of your Bengali Aloo Methi.
Your Recipe Card:
Bengali Fenugreek Potatoes
- 1 lb baby Potatoes;
- 1 bunch fresh Fenugreek;
- 1 tbsp. Panch Phoron
- 1 tbsp. Butter or Ghee;
- 1 ½ tbsp. Turmeric.
- 2 tbsp. Oil;
- 1 pinch Salt.
- Halve the potatoes, then toss with salt and a tablespoon of oil. Bake them in a 400 degree oven for about twenty minutes until cooked through and golden.
- Coarsely chop the Fenugreek and set aside for the moment.
- Heat the Butter or Ghee in a pan over moderate heat and add the Panch Phoron. When the seeds begin to pop and sputter, add the potatoes. Stir in the turmeric until the potatoes are well coated then cook for a few more minutes until all is heated through.
- Add the Fenugreek and sauté until it is wilted.
- Serve Immediately.