06 October, 2008

Methi-Lobia: Flavours of Life...

So you are a vegetarian? Then how you manage to stay healthy?
How can you survive eating just vegetables, greens and beans? I bet it must be boring to eat same stuff everyday!
Oh! You belong to ghas-phus family then!
I have lost the count on number of times I have been asked similar questions by many people, both in India and abroad. I can hear genuine concern when asked by someone who is unaware of vast vegetarian food choices available in India but I really get annoyed when asked by someone who was bought up in India, at least first two and half decades of their life, eating more vegetarian meals than non-vegetarian and have been living here in western land for two and half years. WTF!!! Either they are suffering from short term memory loss or selective amnesia.

And again we have another set of people back home who thinks we stuff our mouth with every possible living/non-living animals (includes birds, reptiles, etc etc…) as soon as we step out of India!!! Why? Because of their distant relative who had left India some neons of years ago has told them that they cook and eat non-veg due to lack of availability of fresh vegetables in some corner of the world where they live! So they simply assume, there is no way we too can stick to strict vegetarian diet! There are some people who simply ask us the very same question again and again every time we visit India, and are still hopeful that one day we will say we eat meat. Wow!!! You genius people!!!

I have no qualms or issue with any people who have converted from being a vegetarian to non-vegetarian or vice versa. But I do hate it when people repeatedly ask me the same questions, in spite of knowing how easily we vegetarians can survive in meat loving country without tiny-winy bit of a problem. And even if I decide to eat meat, I don’t see why I need to give any kind of explanations. At first I used to find these questions very amusing and later I found it very irritating. And right now I feel much better after ranting away and can’t help but laugh at myself for being so silly and get easily irritated by bunch of jokers! Blogging is therapeutic!!! Ahh...

Now that I have taken out all my frustrations, I can proceed to writing a recipe of Methi Lobia which was inspired from Raghavan’s 660 Curries cookbook. I have combined the main two ingredients, fenugreek leaves and black eyed peas, from the book but went on to cook using my own method and technique. These pleasantly bitter fresh fenugreek leaves combined with nutty black eyed peas and cooked in a sweet onion-tomato based curry was an instant hit with us. Addition of kasuri methi simply enhances the flavour. And did you notice there is no soaking of beans is required? Because I used pressure cooker for cooking it, it doesn’t require too much of stirring and standing in front of a stove. You can simply substitute fenugreek leaves with other green leafy vegetable for different taste but cook this for sure. This curry has all the flavours of life- bitter, sour, sweet and spicy. I am sending this to dear Sra who is guest hosting this month’s My Legume Love Affair event initiated by lovely Susan.


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Methi Lobia (Fresh Fenugreek Leaves and Black Eyed Peas in sweet Onion and tangy Tomato sauce)
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 3-4
Recipe Inspiration: 660 Curries
1 cup Black eyed Peas, washed and drained
2 packed Cups fresh/frozen Fenugreek Leaves
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
3 large/4 medium Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Kitchen King Masala (Optional)
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust acc to taste)
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Optional)
1 tsp Jaggery/Brown Sugar (Optional)
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add cumin seeds to it. When it sizzles and turns light reddish brown, add hing and finely chopped onions. Sauté it on medium flame till onion turns translucent, about 2 mins.
Now add ginger-garlic paste and sauté on medium flame for another minute. Mix in garam masala, kitchen king masala, chilli powder and kasuri methi and fry for few seconds.
Mix in finely chopped tomatoes and cook till turns pulpy and releases its juice, about 3 minutes. Add fenugreek leaves and sauté on medium flame till they wilt, about 2-3 mins.
Now add washed black eyed peas, salt to taste, jaggery and 3 cups of water and mix well. Cover the pressure cooker lid and cook on medium flame for about 20-25 mins till the beans are cooked well and start to break down.
Let the steam release completely before you open the pressure cooker lid. Serve this delicious, tangy curry with chapatti or any other roties and enjoy.


  1. Wow this looks gr8 and sounds healthy. Never tried up this combo. Will try this out soon.

  2. Sia,some of the older pics (bharwan lauki)cannot be viewed on the IE.Check it out.
    The lobia is bookmarked.Cheers.

  3. WTF?!!! Somebody's certainly crabby today!

    With ref to your first big para, I notice quite a few people declaring how they cannot live without non-veg food everyday! It's quite amusing - I know it's going to sound snobbish but I'll say it anyway - I imagine this is the result of a new prosperity, this showing off. As kids, they may have eaten meat just twice a week. And this extends to other spheres too - I've had recent NRIs tell me that something called Disneyland is there in America!!!

    This curry looks lovely. Please link to the announcement/host posts in Susan's and my blog, Sia, and send me the details. Thanks.

  4. Hey, love your new header, btw!

  5. Methi Lobia looks delicious!
    Eating a vegetarian meal every day is still unimaginable for most of the people here. One does not find any proper vegetarian dish on the menu cards in restaurents either.
    But, i don't understand how an Indian can say something like that.
    In fact, the only thing important as a vegetarian is that one does need to be careful with the amount of proteins (aminoacids), especially for growing children, which can be a limiting factor, if we don't eat a variety of protein sources. But, that is, should be well known to all Indians. We have lived as vegetarians since thousands of years. They are totally unknowledgable to quesion this.

  6. loving it...beautifuly clicked as usual!

  7. hi Sia, wonderful recipe. I love the combo of methi leaves and jaggery! Have to try it, but I hardly buy lobia, so maybe not soon. Bookmarked it, and great entry. Being vegetarian or eating non-veg - I have believed it is purely a choice that a human being has. Indians (NRI or otherwise) are prejudiced, and finding out whether a person is a vegetarian or not, is the first way of finding out if they are Brahman-Hindu or not.Havig turned vegetarian for a few years, influenced by a programme called heads and tails on TV (i think) way back in college, my roomie from Chennai was initially happy to know I was vegetarian, but later started giving me dirty looks and said, "I am vegetarian by birth, you are not that!," as if I had committed a crime.Worse, when her cousins from abroad (US) visited,she kept chicken curry in the fridge for them,and asked us not to eat it! When her father visited,she would hide the eggs she had bought (she loved to buy 'vegetarian' eggs from the market,which were also not approved of by her parents) and ask us not to make it when they were there. Hypocrisy, prejudices...tough life for everyone...

  8. Sia, I do understand your frustration, for me it is the other way around when people simply assume I do not eat anything besides vegetables :)

    Yes Lobia is a delight and methi leaves sure brightens up any dish.

  9. I can so well relate to that .. i hate anyone telling me i belong to ghas-phus family :( Methi-lobia looks nice ... shall try it

  10. The new blog header is beautiful.
    Methi lobia is a new dish to me.But,i am sure gonna try it.

  11. Lovely recipe Sia! I love lobia, mom makes it like any other Punjabi rase wali sabzi... Musical suggested adding green bell peppers to the conventional recipe and it was great! I can imagine methi will be such a great, fragrant addition. Can't wait to try it!
    I too have been asked about a thousand times, if you are are vegetarian what DO you eat actually! And the big Protein question never disappoints, it always gets asked! :)

  12. awwh, been there, seen all! Who cares? No worries!

    Methi Lobia looks lovely Sia! Awesome recipe.

  13. Yes, very well said Sia. I too face the same questions even by my parents. People down in our country think that the part they live is only the world and people over here think that this is the world.
    Well, the lobia and the gravy looks gorgeous.

  14. Like so many others before me here,I have to agree...your methi lobia looks delicious..will give it a try:)

  15. Methi lobia looks great,nice combination.

  16. Hi Sia, i can relate to it too :-) I'm a vegetarian and a picky eater, so i get more comments and i've learnt to turn a deaf ear to them. Like you, i dont have a problem with people changing from veg to nonveg or vice versa, but i dont like it when they say i changed to nonveg coz i dont get vegetarian stuff. i think that's just a lame excuse. Methi lobia looks delicious.

  17. i didn't know black eyed peas were called lobia. I made a thoran with this last week and will post soon :)

  18. LOL, blogging sure is therapuetic isn't it? Love that header, very artistic :)

  19. To these people I say... oh... you are pure non veg? Kya yaar... wohi chicken, mutton, fish... so sad :-)

    There's enough variety to go around in both... and this is a nice recipe.

  20. Sia, the recipe rocks! Lobia has been my fav. -amma making yummy koddel n saar-upkari..which I now miss! :( I had tried lobia -tomato onion based gravy frm a mag..that turned out great wt chapatis! Tks for sharing this..wd surely try sometime!

  21. lobia is one of my fav dishes, looks yum :)
    love the new header, lovely soothing colors, sia!

  22. Your blog is such a feast for the eyes. I love coming here and read your stories. Have a good day.

  23. Don't you need to presoak the lobia before cooking it ?

  24. I hear ya!! I have been asked those qtns so many times.. I say WTF !!! too!!

    Methi Lobhia looks gorgeous!

    AND... LOVE .... LOVE the new header!!
    How do u do it? I cannot do the simplest things ... let me email u for some guidance ( in a while, the baby is up!! )

  25. This looks gorgeous, Sia. I love black-eyed peas with almost anything. And I couldn't agree more: it is amazing how creative vegetarian meals can be, and how healthy. It is indeed annoying to find people who believe vegetarian food is boring.

  26. People try every possible way to alienate vegetarians as though we come from outer planet.
    I usually make the palya, but i loved the idea of adding methi to black eyed bean.

  27. @all,
    thank you :)

    nope. u don't need to soak black eyed peas in water. just make sure that you cook long enough in a pressure cooker.

  28. Lovely recipe...btw, it is not hard to be a vegetarian,the options are way too many...apart from missing fish, I can turn vegetarian any day :-)

  29. yar this header is sooo cute and attaractive :). I loved it soo much. And this curry looks yummy. I am trying making a nice header for my blog and still doing it. Hope I will make it some day :)

  30. Sia, I also have similar recipe and so dint post it due to my laziness and house chores. I think I may post it. Pls dont think that I copied it. This is punjabi dish that I cooked them for chapati. I dont know susan's event deadline. If I know I may post different recipe of lobia. I wonder why burnt mouth didnt post recipes of those who participated tried and tasted by sia's event.
    Do u buy more different serving bowls? Looks so good with ur pictures. Keep in touch!!!

  31. Rajee, most of the indian food is cooked in a same way and copying it doesn't come into picture. i cook using recipes from my mother, grandmother, aunts and from other sources but it doesn't mean we r copying it right? so go ahead and post ur vesrsion of methi-lobia. and u can get to know more abt the event by clicking the link i provided just above the recipe. MLLA is guset hosted by Sra and it runs till the end of this month.
    and abt T&T hosted by Zu of burnt mouth, the deadline is extended till 12th of this month. so she will be publishing the round-up later in this month.

  32. Thank you Sia. I hate to see most of the foodie blogs are fighting for the copywright. I couldnt understand it. We're indians and so most of the recipes will be similar to everyone's. Sometimes, I get scared of my new posts. I am innocent and so I called "Simply Innocent" in my blog. I want u to be my side always. Love ur pictures of new posts.Cheers.

  33. Rajee, copyright issue comes when u lift a content or photos from other blogs and post it in your blog without their permission. if you copy a recipe word-to-word from other blogs without giving any credit to them, then you voiolate copyright issue. as long as you write your own recipe and post it along with your the pics which u have taken no one will accuse of lifting their contents. and remember, recipes can't be patented or copyrigted. if you post it in ur website then it becomes public and anyone can use it. but cooking a recipe following from blog is toally different from copying a content.

  34. Hi Sia, as usual nice recipe with gr8 picture. lobhiya is kind of a regular curry at our place, but i have never tried it with fenugreek. Its looks like nice combo. I'll like to go for it and let u know...

  35. Sia, I am a huge methi fan esp. kasuri methi so I completely love this combo! Great pics as always:)

  36. I hear you, Sia. As if streaky bacon does not produce its own intestinal reactions. ; >

    Adore this recipe - 2 cups of fresh methi AND dried, too.

    Your new header is VERY attractive.

  37. Sia,
    I used the same ingredients in Methi lobia except Kitchen King Masala. But in his book 660 curries, no garam masala and no 1/2 tsp of red chilly powder. I dont think that taste in that book Methi lobia will good and delicious. He added one can of tomatoes which give sour and artificial taste. What do u think in his recipe of methi lobia?


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