Malai is the word for cream; methi is the word for fenugreek, one of the staples of healthy Indian cooking. Malai Methi Chicken was considered a “luxury dish” when Chef Sajan was growing up. Bitter when raw, cooking transforms fenugreek, which gives a sweetness and depth of flavor to saucy dishes.
Fish also works will as the protein here, and vegetarians can substitute cubes of paneer or other other mild, fresh cheese. To source the ingredients, visit our Global Grocery Guide.
1 pound boneless chicken, cut in bite-size pieces
½ cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
½ teaspoon dried turmeric
1 cup finely chopped fresh fenugreek, spinach or mustard greens
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 tablespoons dried coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
1 teaspoon chopped green chili pepper, more to taste
2 tablespoons cream
Freshly chopped cilantro, for serving
Mix chicken with yogurt, dried fenugreek, ginger garlic paste and turmeric. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.
Mix fresh fenugreek, spinach or mustard with salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess water and set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet until shimmering. Add cumin seeds (they will sputter). Stir in onions and sauté until lightly browned. Stir in tomatoes, fenugreek (or mustard or spinach), coriander, 1 tablespoon garam masala, and green chili pepper. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes.
Add chicken, marinade and remaining garam masala and sauté 3 to 4 minutes.
Add ½ to 1 cup of water to desired consistency. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream.
Top with fresh cilantro and serve hot with naan.