Sunday, August 6, 2017

Corn and Methi Bhaji

A month of holy Mondays begins and I make the requisite thali dinners. Today's thali is a simple one. The sweet component is keroli or plantains stuffed with coconut and raisins. Zucchini bhaji or fritters, varan bhaat or dal and rice, cauliflower curry, peas and cauliflower (yes we do love cruciferous veggies) and fresh corn with methi leaves.

Fresh corn is a summer staple, found at farmers markets, local grocery stores and even at garden centers. I scrape off the kernels with a sharp knife. Cleaning methi leaves or fresh fenugreek is another story. Methi is usually grown in sandy soil. This batch comes with its own bag of soil! Once it's thoroughly washed, I give it a rough chop. If you cannot find fresh fenugreek leaves , use baby spinach. Oil goes into a hot pan. Mustard and cumin seeds are spluttered till they hiss and pop. Minced green chiles add zing. In go the corn kernels for a quick saute. Chopped methi leaves sit atop the corn, wilting with the high heat. A short steam later the vegetable is ready for the thali.

Serves 4

2-3 Corn cobs
2 small bunches of Methi leaves or baby Spinach leaves
2 tablespoons Canola Oil 
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
2 green Chiles
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1/2 teaspoon Sugar

Remove husk and silk from corn cobs. Hold the corn upright in a flat dish. Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels, going in a downward motion. The dish should catch most of the kernels. You should have a little more than 2 cups of kernels.

Pick off the leaves from methi stems. Discard stems. Wash the leaves thoroughly to remove all sandy grit. Roughly chop leaves.

Mince green chiles finely.

Heat canola oil in saucepan over high heat.

Splutter mustard and cumin seeds. Let them turn brown and pop.

Add green chiles to hot oil. Wait a few seconds.

Then add corn kernels. Let corn saute over high heat for a few minutes.

Scatter methi leaves and turmeric powder over corn. 

Season with salt and sugar.

Cover the saucepan and lower heat. 

Cook the vegetables for 8-10 minutes. 

Uncover pan, stir the veggies and serve the bhaji hot.

This is a simple side. It pairs with rice or any Indian bread. The blessed thali is presented to the youngest family member...who does full justice to the meal.