It all started with a trip to the Indian grocery store, where I typically buy okra and curry leaves. I was intrigued by the mehti and decided to try to prepare something slightly different from the South Indian version. So I came up with this tasty and wholesome appetizer that is a fusion of Indian and Mediterranean (Indo-terranian) cuisines.
Mehti- 1 bunch
1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic gloves (finely chopped)
1 inch piece of ginger (finely chopped)
Urad dahl (1/2 tablespoon)
black mustard seeds (1 tsp)
fenugreek seeds (ground in mortar and pestle)-1/2 tablespoon
cumin seeds (1/2 tablespoon)
mustard leaves (5)
in pinch of sugar
grape tomatoes (about 10, chopped)
garam masala powder (approximately 1 tsp)
the tip of 1 green chili, or red chili to taste (depending on the desired heat level)-optional
2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (optional)
oil for sauteing (enough to cover the bottom of a pan)-I use olive oil
and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil to top the crostini
salt and pepper to taste
sliced artisan bread (preferably multi-grain), toasted or grilled
Separate the methi leaves from the stalk by pulling them away from the stalk with your fingers. Wash the leaves thoroughly and chop them on a cutting board
Heat the oil in a pan then add mustard seeds, urad dahl, ground fenugreek powder, garam masala powder, and cumin seeds.
Allow the mixture to splutter (be careful not to burn it), and then add green (or red) chili, if some heat is desired, the curry leaves, and onions and saute' until translucent.
Add the chopped ginger and garlic, and saute' for an additional minute.
Then add the chopped methi leaves, 1 pinch of sugar, and cook down for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add salt
Pour in a food processor and pulse a few times.
If desired, mix in the yogurt and pulse a few more times until incorporated.
Spoon the mehti mixture on lightly toasted bread slices. To serve warm, bake in the oven for a couple of minutes at 350F.
Remove from the oven, add freshly ground black pepper, and drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil.
Serve and enjoy.