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Methi murgh (chicken with fresh fenugreek leaves)

This is a spicy curry dish originating from the Punjab border region, which is divided between India and Pakistan; the methi curry is not as well known in the western world as other famous curries but it is a very appreciated and popular recipe in India and Pakistan where you will also encounter similar fenugreek recipes with mutton or beef.

The fenugreek leaves (the Methi) of course will be the main ingredient that defines this chicken curry; these fenugreek leaves will give a unique bitter taste to this curry; they may be difficult to find at the local store, but any large asian products store or Indian store should have them for you. People sometimes use the pressure cooker to speed up making this dish but I have outlined here the traditional method… enjoy!

Ingredients (for four guests):

* 2-3 lb. whole chicken or bigger,
* 2 cups plain yogurt
* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 tablespoons ghee
* 1 whole green cardamom pod,
* 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 inches each
* 2 cloves
* 2 onions, chopped
* 8-10 cloves of garlic, to be pressed in
* 4 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
* 6 green peppers, either jalapenos or serranos or a combination
* 3 red tomatoes, coarsely chopped
* 2 teaspoons powdered curry
* 1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
* 1 big bunch (1 lb.) fresh fenugreek leaves (Methi), washed and chopped finely
* 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
* 10 unsalted cashews


1) First we will make the chicken marinate; clean the chicken by pulliing out and discarding its skin, then cut it in small parts with bones, using a big sharp knife. As for the marinade, pour the yogurt in a bowl, mix some salt, pepper and curry powder. Put the chicken parts in the bowl, mix to coat them well then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Meanwhile soak the cashews in hot water, during that whole time. Slice the green peppers in thin juliennes, discarding their seeds.

2) Using a coffee grinder, grind the cardamom, the cinnamon, the cashews and cloves together to a paste. In your favorite heavy bottomed pan, melt and heat the ghee over a medium heat-high setting, then pour in the ground spices and fry for just one minute to fully liberate their aromas; but do not burn the spices!

3) Reduce the heat setting to medium then add the chopped onions, fry gently until they start to become translucent or perhaps slightly brown. Reduce heat again, to medium-low then press in all the garlic, mix in the minced fresh ginger and the green peppers, mix well and cook a few more minutes.

4) It is now time to add the tomatoes to our ground spices, simmer over medium-low heat setting until the tomatoes are starting to melt or about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5) Pour the marinated chicken parts in, along with the marinade; mix in the chopped fenugreek leaves, then simmer still over medium-low heat setting, until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. When the chicken is done your curry is ready! When serving