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Methi Chicken

Chicken in a pleasantly bitter sweet gravy made with fresh fenugreek leaves, yogurt and spices. Serve with rice or roti for a delicious meal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1.5 lb (700g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/3 cup plain full fat yogurt
  • 1 tsp kausuri methi , crushed between palms
  • 1/3 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 3 tbsp mustard oil (or avocado/grapeseed oil)
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 1.5 tbsp 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 3/4 cup) thinly sliced onions
  • pinch turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 large (about 1/2 cup) tomato, grated or crushed in a food processor
  • 1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 to 1.5 cup fresh methi leaves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1- 2 tbsp heavy cream, optional


  • Add chicken to a bowl. Sprinkle the black pepper powder and little salt over it. Mix well to coat the chicken. Let stand while you start making the masala.
  • In a small bowl, beat together the yogurt, cumin 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 tbsp water to the kadai, they will splutter a bit. 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 starting to turn white. 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 the kadai and let the chicken cooks in its own and juices from tomatoes.
  • When the chicken is tender, reduce the heat to low and add the beaten yogurt, Immediately mix continuouslyfor 2-3 minutes once you add yogurt to avoid curdling.
  • Let the chicken cook for another 4-5 minutes with the yogurt. You will see a thick gravy will form. Let the chicken cook completely in yogurt. You will see that the oil will start releasing.
  • Add the chopped methi leaves along with garam masala. Mix well and cook everything till the methi has completely wilted. About 3 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream (if using), mix and turn off the stove after 1 minute. Let rest for a couple hours 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.