Monday, July 1, 2013

Menthe soppu bath | Spiced fenugreek leaves rice : A Karnataka Specialty!

This is one of the rice dishes that I often cook for guests. All of them have liked this & in fact they all wanted me to share the recipe with them. This is a slight variation from the gorikai bath. The slight bitterness from the fenugreek leaves, sweetness from the jaggery, tanginess from the tamarind & the spice from the masala powder makes this a very delicious rice!

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 45 mins (including the cooking of rice)
Recipe Source: Amma (my mom)

For the rice:
Sona masoori rice: 2 cups
Water: 4-5 cups
Salt: a pinch, optional

For the menthe soppu palya / spicy fenugreek mixture:
Oil: 1 tsp
Fenugreek leaves: 1 medium sized bunch, about 2 cups tightly packed
Frozen peas: 3/4 cup
Tamarind: lime sized soaked in 1/2 cup warm water.
Turmeric powder: a big pinch
Brown sugar/jaggery:/bella 1 tbsp
Vangi bath powder*: 2 tbsp, a little more or less
Salt: As needed

* I do not use vangi bath powder, instead use a home made bath powder. I get this from my mom. Will share the recipe of my mom's bath powder soon. You could use MTR Vangi bath powder for good results.

For the tempering:
Oil: 1.5 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Urad dal/uddina bele : 2 tsp
Peanuts : 2 tbsp
Curry leaves: 6-8 nos, torn
Red chili: 1 no, broken
Asafoetida: a big pinch

Cook the rice & let it cool.
For the fenugreek spice mixture:
Seperate the leaves from the stem & wash the leaves thoroughly. Chop them fine.

Heat oil in a broad pan. When hot, throw in the fenugreek leaves & saute till the leaves wilt. Cook the leaves on a medium heat.

Once the leaves reduce in size & gets half cooked, throw in the peas.

Add the turmeric powder.

Squeeze the water from the tamarind & pour the tamarind water to the pan.
Add the jaggery, salt & vangi bath powder. Cook on medium heat till the mixture becomes thick.

Meantime spread the rice on a large mixing plate or bowl. Add the prepared fenugreek mixture to the mixing bowl.
Prepare the tempering. Heat oil. When hot, add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds & urad dal.

When seeds crackle & dal turns golden brown, add the peanuts & saute till peanuts are nice golden brown.

Reduce the heat to low, add the curry leaves, broken red chili. Let the curry leaves wilt. Finally add the asafoetida & remove the tempering from the heat.

Pour in the tempering to the rice. Let the tempering cool a bit. Once cool enough to handle, mix the rice thoroughly. I prefer using my hands to mix this kind of rice bath.

Let the rice sit for at least 30 mins before serving. The flavors talk to each other & blend well.

Serve this rice warm or at room temperature with a fritter/vada/chips or a salad/kosambari.

  • This is a very forgiving recipe. You could adjust the taste of the dish at the time of mixing the rice too. 
  • Whenever I felt the dish lacked the sourness, I have added some lemon juice at the end while mixing the rice. 
  • If you feel the spice powder is less, then heat about 2 tsp of oil in a small pan. Add the needed vangi bath powder to the hot oil, saute for 15-20 secs. Pout this oil mixture to the rice & mix well. 
  • You could replace the tamarind juice with the lemon juice & it does taste delicious. 
  • I prefer using the fresh tamarind extract over the readily available tamarind pulp. The sweetness from the fresh tamarind enhances the taste.
  • Instead of the peas, you could use avarekai/lima beans.