Through out the warmer part of the year, everyday after school he would have us help him out in the garden. Papa would work hard and set up a kitchen garden, by the house every year. Would work up the soil, go buy some new seeds and plants, pull out the older seeds saved from last year and sow them neatly under the soil. Tomatoes big and small, lauki (botte gaurd), squashes of several variety, onion, potatoes, karela (bitter gourd), eggplants and many more. He would have me and my brother help him out, water the plants, pick weeds and make sure Polley, our pet dog doesn't make that garden her personal bathroom.
There were parts of that chore that I liked, like throwing dirt and sneaking in small worms inside of my brother's shirt but then there were some that I hated. I would rather be watching MTv or chatting with my friends over the phone than talking to the plants at that age. But it was a chore and I had to do it!
I would ask Papa why he even bothers to work so hard over those vegetable plants which gave us produce barely enough to feed us a few meals through out the season. Why to sweat so much over those 14 little okras when mummy could buy a kilo for a rupee. He would smile and in his heavy deep voice would reply, "that's because I love you!". I never understood that answer and that expression of love.
But now after 20 years when I reap the first crop of methi (fenugreek) leaves off of my kitchen garden. A garden that I prepped up following each step Papa followed 20 years back and parts of which were a "chore" back then. When I carefully wash the dirt off of each leaf, chop them make and religiously brown each methi paratha on the skillet smothering some homemade ghee on it and secretly hoping that the picky eater in the family would like it. And when my daughter finishes it up in minutes and asks for a second helping, I know exactly what he meant back then. Now I understand how something as simple as working to provide a good wholesome meal can show your immense love for a person. I am not sure if my daughter realizes this expression of love yet but I am sure in another 20 years she will and hopefully will spread the same.
After a long few busy weeks and no blogging at all something like this of a realization could only have brought me back to the blogging world again. I am glad to be back and to be able to speak with you again. Hope you are keeping well, I am too. Today sharing with you a recipe for Methi Chicken, (chicken cooked with fresh fenugreek leaves). Its one of my dad's recipes which I absolutely love and is so simple to make. As long as you have fenugreek leaves and some chicken you will not have to run to the grocery store, I promise you that. And for those who are not familiar with fenugreek, here's a little info. So enjoy, till I see you again!
1 1/2 pounds chicken (I used cut whole chicken, with bones but you can use any part and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
1 1/2 cup fresh fenugreek leaves, chopped (1 cup fenugreek leaves for 1 lb of chicken)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (omit if not available)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated) or use 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, though fresh tastes better.
2-3 thai green chili (slit from middle)
1 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup tomato
1 tablespoon ghee (optional)
2 tablespoon cooking oil
Salt to taste
Wash the chicken thoroughly. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, mix together ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, coriander powder, chili and salt. Add chicken. Rub everything well together. Cover and let it marinate for atleast 2 hours or better overnight.
Heat ghee and oil in a heavy bottom pan with a cover. Add chicken. Saute the chicken and cook it under medium heat until its cooked half way through.
Add fenugreek leaves. Mix well, cover and cook on medium heat until the chicken is cooked. Stir occasionally, scraping the sides if they stick.
Towards the last 5 minutes add tomato. Adjust salt if required and upto 1/2 cup water if the curry is too thick. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, on a medium high heat.
Once the tomatoes melt and the chicken is cooked and slightly browned on the sides, its ready to eat.
Serve hot with Naan, Roti or simple pulav