Methi Murgh.Fresh Methi Chicken.Indian methi chicken is delicious and mildly spiced chicken in a sauce made with fresh fenugreek leaves, yogurt and spices. This dish pairs well with rotis or rice for a flavorful meal.
During winters, I make this delicious methi chicken recipe using fresh methi or fenugreek leaves.This chicken methi dish is fairly easy and quick to make and does not need marination(my favorite part!) . Methi leaves are very popular greens in India, especially when they are in season during the autumn/winter months. The leaves have a unique, bitter sweet taste and aroma which is quite addictive. During the summer months, when methi leaves aren't that easy to find, you can still make this dish using a combination of frozen methi(if available) and kausri methi which is basically dried fenugreek leaves that are commonly used to flavor a ton of Indian curries like butter chicken and tikka masala. However,using just kasuri methi will not give the same taste.
How to make Methi chicken ?
Start by plucking the methi leaves off the stems. The task of cleaning methi leaves is a bit tedious but that is the only thing which is hard in this recipe. Rest of the curry is simple to make and comes together quickly. Once the methi leaves are ready, wash them 3-4 times to remove all the dirt (this is important) and then let them air dry for a couple of hours. Once dry, chop the methi leaves and use them to flavor the onion and tomato masala and cook the chicken in the masala. Detailed Instructions can be found in the recipe card.
Ingredients Needed for Methi Chicken
For making methi chicken you will the following ingredients. Exact quantities are in recipe card.
- Fresh Methi Leaves :-Fresh Methi Leaves are the best choice however if you cannot find, you can use frozen methi. Always taste a few different stalks before buying the methi bunch. Sometimes the leaves are too bitter especially if its desi methi and we cannot use them. Second thing to keep in mind is to not use the stems of methi, they are usually more bitter and fibrous so they will spoil the texture of the dish.
- Boneless Chicken Thighs. I make this dish with boneless chicken thighs but you can use bone in chicken as well. Just adjust the time of cooking as noted in the recipe. In India, it is not common to make chicken curries with chicken breast. Tip :- Always try to use dark meat chicken when making curries.
- Spices. I don't use a lot of whole spices in this methi murgh recipe so that the pleasant bitter sweet taste of fresh methi remains intact. Just a pod of black cardamom and bay leaf is more than enough. For the powdered spices we are just going to use coriander powder.
- Full Fat Dahi/Curd - Whole greek yogurt is fine as well.
- Tomatoes :- Using tomatoes is optional. Just don't use very sour tomatoes.
How to Serve Methi Chicken
Methi Murgh is does not have a lot of gravy, rather a thickish masala and thats why in my opinion it pairs very with flatbreads of all kinds. I like to serve it with roti or naan. You can pair it with these delicious pudina paratha as well.
Some Tips & Tricks
- Use dark bone in or boneless chicken in this recipe of fresh methi chicken for a deep flavor. We do not marinate the chicken for hours and chicken thighs or drumsticks will give a very good flavor.
- Let the methi leaves air dry for a few hours before chopping them. Methi Leaves are added at the very end of cooking and adding wet methi leaves will make the curry watery.
- Bitter Taste of Methi :- Cooking the dish a couple hours before you are going to serve and resting it not only enhances the flavor of the dish but also brings down the bitterness if any. However sometimes the methi is just too bitter and there is hardly anything you can do to save it, so as I mentioned before, taste a few Methi Leaves from the bunch that you are using a few times beforehand.
- Fresh Methi + Kasuri Methi- Yes, use both. The methi that we get here in united states is very rarely bitter (which is great) but at the same time, I feel that it is mild in flavor compared to the fresh methi we get in India. Using a combination of fresh and kasuri methi really enhances the taste of the sauce.
- Mustard Oil:- Methi Murgh is a rustic Punjabi style chicken curry and in my opinion, the taste of this dish is best when cooked in mustard oil, however you can use avocado or grapeseed oil.
- Use of chilies :- I don't add red chili powder in this recipe. In fact, if you ask me this dish is not hot rather it has a pleasant bitterness from methi leaves. I do add a few green chilies for the flavor goes really well with the methi.
- While cooking the chicken, make sure to do so on not too low or high heat. We don't want to brown the chicken too much on high. Neither we want the chicken to release its water on low. Just fry for 3-4 minutes and proceed to next step outlined in the recipe.
- Dahi or yogurt is added to indian curries not just for tang but also for richness & creaminess. Hence, I always go for plain, unflavored whole (full fat) yogurt.
- Pro Tip when using Yogurt in recipes :- When you start cooking, set the yogurt that would need out of the fridge.Meaning avoid using yogurt straight out of the fridge. Second tip is to add the yogurt on low heat and ALWAYS whisk the yogurt before adding to the masala. Immediately when you add the yogurt, start stirring and continue for at least 2-3 minutes until the yogurt that you added is warmed through. Then, change the stove to medium or medium high.
- Please don't skip the heavy cream as a finish. It really enhances the taste of the final dish.
- I won't recommend making the curry too soupy. It tastes amazing on the sukha(dry) side. That said you can use it as a wrap filling with thinly slices onions- so yummy!
Variations you can try
- Use Minced Chicken Or Turkey - Instead of bone in chicken, you can use ground chicken or turkey. The recipe instructions remain same.
- Make it Vegetarian Friendly- The methi murgh recipe can easily be turned into a delicious vegetarian or vegan friendly dish with a few substitutions as below. Use paneer cubes, whole mushrooms or cauliflower in the same sauce. If you want to make it vegan, swap the chicken with extra firm tofu or any plant based meat and use cashew yogurt in place of regular yogurt.
- Make Malai Methi Chicken by make a slight thickish gravy(not soupy). Add ½ cup water and ¼ cup heavy cream and simmer the curry for about 5-6 minutes on low.
Some other chicken recipes you will enjoy
Fresh Methi Chicken Recipe
- 1.5 lb (700g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in 2 inch pieces
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- ⅓ cup plain full fat yogurt
- 1 teaspoon kausuri methi , crushed between palms
- ⅓ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 3 tablespoon mustard oil (or avocado/grapeseed oil)
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 large bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
- 1.5 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (simply pound together 3 cloves garlic and 1 inch ginger in mortar pestle)
- 2-3 thai bird green chilies, slit
- 1 large (about ¾ cup) thinly sliced onions
- pinch turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 large (about ½ cup) tomato, grated or crushed in a food processor
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 to 1.5 cup fresh methi leaves
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1- 2 tablespoon heavy cream, optional
- Add chicken to a bowl. Sprinkle the black pepper powder and little salt. Mix well to coat the chicken. Let stand while you start making the masala.
- In a small bowl, beat together the yogurt, cumin powder and kasuri methi. Keep near.
- Add oil to a heavy wide kadai or pan. Warm up the oil till its slightly smoky. Add cardamom, methi dana & bay leaf and sauté for 10 seconds. You will see that the cardamom swells up.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies. Sauté for 10 seconds till you smell a nice aroma.
- Add the onions next and brown them till light golden in color on medium heat. Takes about 3-4 minutes.
- Once the onions are browned, add 2 tablespoon water to the kadai, there will be spluttering. Immediately add the chicken. Sprinkle the turmeric and coriander. Toss around the chicken for 3-4 minutes with onions till you see that the chicken is whitish. Don't brown or cook too much.
- Next add the crushed tomatoes. Fry the tomatoes with chicken for 3-5 minutes on medium heat till you start seeing tiny oil bubbles. If you are using bone in chicken, cover and let the chicken cook for about 10 minutes in its own and juices from tomatoes. Check once midway to make sure that the masala is not drying up.
- When the chicken is tender, reduce the heat to low and add the beaten yogurt, Immediately start mix continuously for at least 2-3 minutes after you add yogurt to avoid curdling.
- Bump up the heat to medium and Let the chicken cook for another 4-5 minutes You will see a thick gravy will form. Let the chicken cook completely. You will see that the oil will start releasing on sides of the kadai.
- Add the chopped methi leaves along with garam masala. Mix well and cook everything till the methi has completely wilted. About 3 minutes.
- Finish with the heavy cream , mix and turn off the stove after 1 minute. Let rest for at least 10 minutes or upto an hour if possible. Reheat and serve warm.
- Let the methi leaves air dry for a few hours before chopping them. Adding wet methi leaves will make the curry watery.
- Methi Leaves :-Always taste a few different stalks of your methi bunch. Sometimes the leaves are too bitter especially if its desi methi and you cannot use them to make the curry. Second thing to keep in mind is that never use the stems of methi, they are usually more bitter and fibrous so they will spoil the texture of your dish.
- I make this dish with boneless chicken thighs but you can use bone in chicken easily. Just adjust the time of cooking as noted in the recipe.
- I don't like using a lot of whole spices in my recipe since they overpower the taste of methi. Just a few pods of black cardamom and bay leaf is more than enough.
- Yogurt :- Taste the yogurt before you use it. It should not be too sour else the curry becomes too tangy. Use thick plain homemade yogurt or greek yogurt which isn't too sour.
- Tomatoes :- Using tomatoes is optional. Again don't use very sour tomatoes.
- Bitter Taste of Methi :- Cooking the dish a couple hours before you are going to serve and resting it not only enhances the flavor of the dish but also brings down the bitterness of the dish. However sometimes the methi is just too bitter and there is hardly anything you can do to save it, so as I mentioned before, taste the methi a few times before using it.
- Mustard Oil:- In my opinion, the taste of this dish is best when cooked in mustard oil, however you can use avocado or grapeseed oil instead.
- Heat :- I don't add red chili powder in this recipe. In fact, if you ask me this dish is not hot rather it has a pleasant bitterness from methi leaves. However, I do add a few green chilies for the flavor goes really well with the methi.