Introducing my ultimate comfort food with a twist: Methi Chicken, or Methi Murgh!! Imagine tender chunks of chicken in a luscious, velvety sauce that boasts a symphony of flavors, from the earthy spices to the creamy richness of cashews and cream.
The secret ingredient? Methi leaves, also known as fenugreek leaves, that bring in a subtle bitterness, balancing out the richness and enhancing the flavors of the curry.
Here’s my version of Methi Chicken Curry, a rich, creamy, and aromatic Indian dish that’s packed with flavors and textures. The methi leaves add a unique taste that differentiates it from most other curries.
The addition of cashews in the base is a masterstroke, lending a smooth and velvety texture to the curry.
Today’s recipe is little different than other Indian curries, which are heavy on spices and richness. Methi chicken curry is milder, yet not lacking in flavor.
It stands out because it’s not just another creamy or spicy Indian curry. The methi leaves add a twist that wonderfully compliments the cream and cashews. This makes the curry feel lighter and more interesting.
The spices are there, but they don’t overpower the dish. So, you get a unique combo of creamy, slightly bitter, and gently spiced flavors that you won’t find in your usual Indian curry.
Why This is a Very Unique Curry Experience
- Unique Flavor Profile: The star ingredient, methi leaves, bring a distinct bitterness that is rarely found in other curries. This nuanced flavor beautifully counters the rich and creamy elements, providing a well-rounded taste sensation.
- Texture Heaven: The use of cashews in the base adds a velvety touch, making the curry irresistibly smooth. Most other curries use a simple tomato-onion base, but the cashews elevate this one to gourmet level.
- Mildly Spicy but Big on Flavors: The well-chosen spices gives a warm, aromatic notes, satisfying those cravings for something flavorful but not overwhelmingly spicy, making it enjoyable for all crowds.
- Creamy Yet Light: The addition of cream makes the curry luxuriously rich, yet it doesn’t feel heavy thanks to the methi leaves, which bring in a fresh and slightly herbaceous tone.
- Adaptable: The dish pairs wonderfully with various sides. Whether you like it with fresh basmati rice or prefer scooping it up with rotis, the curry shines through.
- Gourmet Feel, Homey Comfort: It’s a dish that feels gourmet thanks to its complex flavors, yet it’s hearty and comforting like home-cooked food should be.
What are Methi Leaves?
Methi leaves, also known as fenugreek leaves, are a staple herb in Indian cooking and many other culinary traditions. They come from the fenugreek plant and have a unique, slightly bitter taste.
The leaves are small, green, and somewhat similar to clover leaves in appearance. They’re often used to balance out rich and spicy dishes, offering a nuanced, herbaceous element that elevates the overall flavor.
They’re usually available fresh, dried, or frozen at specialty grocery stores. In Methi Chicken Curry, these leaves serve as the magical ingredient that brings a one-of-a-kind taste.
If fresh methi leaves are out of reach, frozen methi leaves available in Indian grocery stores make an excellent substitute in this curry.
Some recipes use dried methi leaves (Kasuri Methi). They’re more concentrated in flavor, so use about 5 tablespoons when the recipe asks you to add the fenugreek. Stir and then see how it taste after cooking for few minutes. You may need to add some more to get the the same taste going.
- Oil – A neutral oil like canola or vegetable is best for letting the flavors of the spices and methi leaves shine.
- Chicken – The protein at the heart of this dish. Bone-in or boneless chicken thighs, both can work. Bone-in provides more flavor, while boneless offers convenience. We do not recommend using chicken breast for this recipe. Chicken drumsticks or chicken quarters cut into pieces would work great too.
- Yogurt – A classic ingredient in many Indian curries, yogurt serves multiple roles. It tenderizes the chicken during marination and also provides a creamy, tangy backdrop against the bold flavors of the spices.
- Onions – Caramelizing them slightly adds sweetness to balance the spices.
- Ginger & Garlic – Fresh is best. These aromatics contribute a sharp, pungent kick that’s essential to Indian cooking.
- Cashews – Soaked in warm water to soften, cashews add a creamy richness to the curry.
- Tomatoes – Fresh tomatoes add acidity and natural sweetness. Go for ripe, juicy tomatoes for the best flavor.
- Spices – Whole cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and cumin seeds offer a warm, aromatic base. Toasting them in oil maximizes their flavor. We also use turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder.
- Methi Leaves – The star ingredient. Fresh is best, but frozen will work. They should be readily available in your local Indian grocery.
- Cream – For luxurious creaminess. Full-fat cream will give the richest flavor, but you can also use half-and-half for a lighter option.
- Green Chilies – For those who like it hot! Adjust the number of chilies based on your spice tolerance.
- Julienned Ginger & Cilantro – Fresh ginger adds a last-minute zing, and cilantro brings a pop of freshness and color.
- Salt: Essential for bringing all the flavors together. Add to taste as you go.
Methi Chicken Recipe
1. Marinate Chicken: Marinate chicken pieces with all marinade ingredients (yogurt, turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, salt, cumin powder, garam masala powder). Cover with cling wrap and marinate in the fridge for a few hours, or while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
2. Make Onion + Tomato + Cashew Base: Heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Sauté sliced onions until they start to brown slightly. Add chopped ginger, garlic, tomatoes, and soaked cashews. Cook for 5-8 minutes.
Cool the mixture and blend into a smooth paste. Add a splash of water if needed.
3. Sauté Methi Leaves: Heat oil. Sauté Methi leaves until wilted. Remove and set aside.
4. Prepare the Curry: Heat another tablespoons of oil. Add whole spices (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin seeds, and bay leaves). Sauté for 30 seconds. Add prepared onion tomato paste. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add marinated chicken pieces and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add Methi Leaves: Add sautéed Methi leaves to the curry and mix. Continue to cook for another 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is almost cooked. Adjust consistency with water if needed.
Add cream and mix well. Stir in slit green chilies, julienned ginger, and chopped cilantro. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt as needed.
6. Serve: Serve immediately with fresh Basmati rice or rotis.
Alpana’s Tips and Tricks
- Plucking Methi Leaves: Methi leaves are usually sold in bunches with stems. To pluck, simply hold the stem with one hand and strip the leaves off using the other hand. You can also use scissors to snip the leaves off the stems. For this recipe, you’ll want to use only the leaves. The stems are generally tougher and can add unnecessary bitterness to your curry. Make sure to discard them.
- Cashew Soaking: Ensure cashews are soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes for creamier consistency.
- Spice Blooming: Toast whole spices in hot oil to maximize their aromatic flavors.
- Onion Caramelization: Let onions brown and caramelize slightly, but not burn, to deepen the curry’s sweetness and flavor complexity.
- Bitterness Reduction: Sautéing Methi leaves before adding to the curry makes them less bitter and easier to enjoy in the curry. It softens the strong taste, making the leaves blend well with other flavors in the dish.
- Creamy vs. Brothy: Add chicken broth or water for a thinner consistency. Use more cream for a richer texture.
- Heat Level: If you like your curry spicy, don’t hold back on the green chilies. The cream will balance the heat.
Protein Variations: Instead of chicken, you can use lamb, ground chicken, ground lamb, shrimp, or even paneer for a vegetarian option.
Spice Level: Add more green chilies for an extra kick, or remove them entirely for a milder flavor.
Creaminess: If you want a richer curry, add more cream or even some coconut milk for a different flavor profile.
Low-Cal: To cut down on calories, you can replace the cream with Greek yogurt.
Methi Substitute: No Methi leaves? Try using spinach as a green substitute. It won’t be the same, but it will still be delicious! As mentioned before, you can also substitute it with dried methi leaves (Kasuri Methi), which is easily available in Indian grocery stores.
Leftovers and Storing
Methi Chicken is absolutely delicious as leftovers, as all the flavors enhance like any other curry or stew, so go ahead and make a big batch of this Indian curry.
Allow the curry to cool down to room temperature before storing. Transfer the cooled curry into airtight containers to keep the flavors intact. Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
If you plan to store it for an extended period, you can freeze methi chicken. It will last for about 2-3 months. Just remember to leave some space in the container for expansion during freezing.
When you’re ready to feast again, you can reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. If it’s frozen, thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Many of you might not know these authentic regional flavors out of India, though some of Indian food lovers might have tried this Indian restaurant favorite chicken dish at some point.
Now you know how to recreate these deliciously unique flavors in your very own kitchen. All you need is one important ingredient. Methi Leaves!! The rest is a breeze!!!
Methi Chicken, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
To Marinate Chicken
- 6 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large pieces
- ½ cup yogurt (alternately, you can use Greek yogurt)
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala powder
- 1 tsp salt
Methi Chicken Curry
- 3 Tbsp oil, divided
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 2 inches ginger (1 inch roughly chopped, 1 inch julienne cut)
- 7-8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 12-14 cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 3-4 whole cloves
- 3-4 whole green cardamom
- 2 small sticks of cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- salt to taste
- 2 large bunches of methi leaves, about 4 cups packed (use only leaves, discard stems)
- ¼ cup cream
- 2-3 green chilis, slit
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- Marinate Chicken: Marinate chicken pieces with all marinade ingredients. Cover and marinate in the fridge for a few hours, or while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Make onion + tomato + cashew base: Heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven, and sauté sliced onion until it starts to brown up a little. Add chopped ginger, garlic, tomatoes and cashews and cook for 5-8 minutes, until the tomatoes start breaking. Cool the mixture and grind it to smooth paste in a blender. (add a little splash of water if needed)
- Sauté methi leaves: In the same pan, heat another 1 Tbsp oil and sauté methi leaves for a few minutes until they are wilted. Remove to a plate.
- Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil. Add whole spices (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin seeds and bay leaves), and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add prepared onion tomato paste and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring.
- Add chicken pieces and salt. Mix well and cook for 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
- Add methi leaves, stir well and cook for another 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is almost cooked. (At this point you can add a little water to adjust the consistency if you like. We like thick curry, so don't added any water)
- Add cream. Mix well. Stir in slit green chilies, julienned ginger, and chopped cilantro and cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt.
- Serve immediately with fresh basmati rice or rotis.
- If you cannot find fresh or frozen methi leaves, replace with 5 Tbsp dried (kasuri methi).
- If you like your curry spicy, don’t hold back on the green chilies. The cream will balance the heat.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or frozen for 2-3 month. Thaw completely before reheating. Reheat on stove top over medium low heat.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 366Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 149mgSodium 759mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 3gSugar 7gProtein 31g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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