METHI MUTTER- NO MALAI - Two versions and some notes Iron vs Calcium

I took to a quick recipe after my return from India. While I like to keep my dishes simple and quick most of the times, I always cook nutritious food at the same time not compromising taste.This is one of the easiest, tasty and nutritious recipes that makes a tantalizing side dish as a perfect combo for Roti/Paratha/Bread. 

I have shared two versions of the same recipe but Version 2 is my preference. Version 1 is a bit exotic with the addition of nuts whilst version 2 is a simple humble version. Pick your choice :)  

I have shared some information on Iron rich foods at the end of this page and I have left some highlights for to take note.

Read on now.....

Preparation Time: 15 min

Cooking Time :10 -12 min
Serves : 3-4
Spice Level : Mild/ Medium
Category: Side dish
Cuisine : North Indian
Nutrition Information : Iron Rich Foods


Version 1

  • 2 big bunches of Methi Leaves/ Fenugreek leaves 
  • 1 cup boiled green peas ( fresh/ frozen)
  • 3 big Onions
  • 3-4 flakes of garlic
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3-4 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 - 11/2 tsp garam masala powder 
  • 1 - 1 1/2 sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup cashew nut paste
  • 1 tbsp of coconut flour or fresh coconut paste
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Wash, clean and peel off the Methi leaves. You will roughly get 5 cups of tightly packed leaves. Depends on the size of the bunch. Roughly chop and set aside.
  • Pressure cook or microwave green peas until soft  Reserve any cooked water for later use.
  • Grind a fistful of cashew nuts with little water to make a paste.
  • Peel onions and garlic and chop finely. Chop the Tomatoes. Slit the green chillies.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadai or a pan. Add the cumin seeds. When it sizzles, add the chopped onions, garlic and green chillies and saute well.
  • When the onions soften, add tomatoes and turmeric powder. Add a dash of salt and saute again till it turns mushy. 
  • Add the Methi leaves and stir well.  Add required salt (keep an eye as greens are high in Sodium). Close and cook for 2 min and then add the cooked peas.
  • Now add sugar, masala powder, coconut and cashew nut paste.
  • Stir well and then add a cup of water and cook again until all blend and cook well.
  • Check for salt, spice and add what you need and turn off the heat. Serve with Roti/ Parata/ Rice/ Bread/ Wraps or serve as it is. 

Version 2
  • Exclude the coconut and cashew nut paste and follow the same procedure.
  • You may need to adjust the quantity of green chillies accordingly.
  • Adding 1/4 tsp of fennel seed powder to this version enhances taste. 
  • This version tastes best in wraps and in sandwich filling. 

Anemia -Definition and Cause
Anemia  is a prevalent nutritional disorder in developing nations. Among all the existent forms of Anemia, Iron deficiency Anemia is the most common disorder. It is a condition characterized by a drop in RBC number and size ( Red blood corpuscles) and low hemoglobin and serum ferritin  levels  in blood as a result of lack of dietary iron . 

What are your expected Heamoglobin Levels ?

WHO's Hemoglobin thresholds used to define anemia (1 g/dL = 0.6206 mmol/L) ( Source WHO) 
Age or gender groupHb threshold (g/dl)Hb threshold (mmol/l)
Children (0.5–5.0 yrs)11.06.8
Children (5–12 yrs)11.57.1
Teens (12–15 yrs)12.07.4
Women, non-pregnant (>15yrs)12.07.4
Women, pregnant11.06.8
Men (>15yrs)13.0

A simple remedy to combat it is to consume iron rich Foods. Most importantly, the right spacing and combination of foods increases iron absorption. Click here to read on symptoms and other related facts I have focused on Iron and Calcium antagonism and also kept it brief and simple, without details of biochemical aspects.

Iron vs Calcium

  • Iron and Calcium are antagonists and impair each other's absorption when consumed together. For instance, recipes like Palak Paneer, Keerai Mor Kootu (Spinach and Yogurt curry), Dates Milk shake etc are a strict No-No in my kitchen. 
  • The impact is stronger when the concentration of Calcium is more than 300 mg in your food. All the above mentioned recipes have high concentrations of both Calcium and Iron that can cause interference mutually. Sadly, I note many people preparing these combinations very religiously not aware about the underlying facts. 
  • The same is applicable for meat eaters also. It is not wise to consume a milk based dessert (Kheer, Payasam, Ice cream) after a Non-vegetarian meal.
Listed below are the Do's and Don'ts while consuming Iron rich foods. Follow these simple, easy to follow rules and I can guarantee you that your Iron levels can spike in a few weeks time.

Do's and Dont's
  • Always maintain a two hour gap between an Iron and a Calcium meal. The same applies for Iron and Calcium supplements.
  • Iron absorption takes place in the small intestine. However, Iron does not exist in free state  and needs to be broken off from food complexes. 
  • Vitamin C plays a major role in breaking off iron from complexes and increases its bio availability in absorption sites. So, a good dose of Vitamin C after an Iron rich meal aids more Iron absorption. Squeezing lemon juice over spinach, consuming a glass of lemon juice/ orange juice or consuming gooseberries after an Iron meal proves beneficial.
  • Do not consume Coffee or Tea after consuming Iron as it impairs its absorption.
  • Chewing betel leaves& nuts, paan, aerated beverages and milk based desserts like kheer/ ice cream after an Iron meal hinders iron absorption. 
  • It is a practice in India to offer Betel leaves and nuts to pregnant women immediately after their meal to aid digestion. Such practices should be avoided.
  • It is ideal to check your Hemoglobin levels once in a month. If you plan to start Iron supplements  for yourself or for your family, ensure that you all get a deworming done for your entire family  before starting your supplementation. This is to keep any harmful parasites away from your intestines.


  1. Such a detailed wonderful post dear..really useful

  2. WoW! Impressive Sowmya! Never knew Iron and Calcium are antagonist... will avoid consuming them together. Will try the 2nd version of your.

  3. Grt share Sowmya.. I love the version with coconut..looks yum

  4. Good info on iron, my doctor once said, Palak-paneer along with tomato combination is also one of the causes for stone formation in your gallbladder or kidneys(palak and tomato are a deadly combination)

  5. That is so detailed... thank you for so much information! Healthy and delicious curry...

  6. useful post vth lots of information...n dish luks tempting really.

  7. Looks yummy mam,Gonna try the 2nd version . .


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