My last few posts were vegetarian dishes and I was debating whether I should now move on to some non-vegetarian dishes or continue with the vegetarian recipes. Well the latter won hands down, after all leafy vegetables are still available in the market and since mum is busy cooking all the Bengali vegetarian dishes, I felt I should not let go of this opportunity to introduce you to some Bengali vegetarian -‘starters’. I call them starters for these, that is the Stir Fried Radish Leaves and Stir fried Fenugreek Leaves, are served as the first course, usually for lunch.
Methi Shaak Baygoon Bhaja or Methi Shaak Aaloo Bhaja means Fried (Bhaja) Fenugreek leaves (Methi Shaak) with Brinjal /Aubergine/Eggplant (Baygoon) or Potatoes (Aaloo). Since it is not deep fried but fried in very little oil, I prefer to describe it as stir fried. This is usually eaten with plain rice that is plain steamed rice; however it also goes very well with phulka rotis. Phulka rotis are the round shaped flat unleavened Indian bread which are first roasted on a skillet and then puffed up on an open flame. Like a true Bengali I like to have it with steamed rice. As is obvious from the name of the dish you can either make it with potatoes or aubergines.
- One bunch fenugreek leaves.
- 3 potatoes or 250 grams aubergine.
- One tablespoon of oil.
- Salt to taste.
- A few green chillies for garnishing.
- Wash the leaves; take care to use only the leaves and not the stem.
- Chop the leaves.
- Boil the leaves; take care to use little water for boiling the leaves or else you will be saddled with excess water.
- While the leaves are boiling, wash the potatoes well. Chop the potatoes into small pieces (as shown in photo), as most of the nutrition lies in the skin, you need not peel the potatoes; leaving the skin on the potato makes it more nutritious. In case you are using aubergine, then chop it into small pieces similar to the size of the potato pieces.
- Heat a table spoon of oil in a wok or kadhai and sauté the potatoes.
- After you have sautéed the potatoes, add the boiled leaves along with the water in which it was boiled and stir well. Lower flame and cover the vessel.
- After a little while add salt to taste and in case you wish, you may add a bit of red chilli powder; here I would like to add that my mother only uses green chillies and does not use red chilli powder for this dish.
- Keep stirring intermittently till the potatoes soften and all the water evaporates.
- If you find that the potatoes haven’t softened, but the water has evaporated then add a bit of water to soften the potatoes.
- Garnish with green chillies and serve hot.
- In case of aubergines the process is slightly different. First fry the aubergine pieces and keep aside. Then add the boiled fenugreek leaves to the oil in which you have fried the aubergine. Stir fry the leaves. Then add the fried aubergine pieces to the leaves, add salt to taste; you may add a little bit of water at this stage so that the salt mixes well with the leaves and aubergine pieces. Stir till all the water evaporates and serve hot after you have garnished it with some green chillies.
Please note the measurements I have given here are in accordance with the size of the bunch of leaves available here in Bombay, India. You have to adjust your measurement in accordance to the quantity of the fenugreek leaves but take care to see that the quantity of fenugreek leaves is more than the potatoes or aubergine.
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