Growing Methi indoors without soil

A COVID-19 Lockdown post

Recently tried growing fresh methi at home, without soil, and was quite pleased with the results although past attempts (a different method though) were not successful.

So I am sharing the step-by-step procedure to encourage all of you to give it a try especially now more than ever, as it would be almost impossible to purchase it in the market due to present COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown conditions in India and all over the world. Secondly, there’s every reason to be more self-reliant in these trying times.

Just as many Indians do, we too love consuming fresh fenugreek, not to mention the great health benefits associated with it. Generally, it’s an acquired taste as it is slightly bitter. In most parts of the world, it is sold as a herb!

Now, grow your very own fresh fenugreek/methi bhaji at home, organically, and enjoy it every week if you so desire.

You can’t go wrong with this Method:-

  1. Wash and soak ¼ cup of methi seeds overnight or for atleast 8 hours.

2. Take a sieve or colander, metal or plastic as may be available, line the base with muslin cloth or two to three sheets of paper towels.

3. Spread the soaked fenugreek seeds on the liner, spray with water, place the colander in another vessel to catch the excess drained water.

4. Cover with a wet tea towel and set aside.

Leave the wet tea towel for first two days. This makes the sprouts grow upwards towards the moisture.

5. Keep spraying water every five to six hours so that the seeds/sprouts do not dry out. But also ensure the excess water is drained and the lined sheets remain moist at all times.

Sprouts after 24 hours – Day 1
Sprouts after 48 hours – Day 2

6. After Day 2 i.e. after 48 hours, remove the wet towel and leave the container open so the methi gets some air and sunlight, but do not place in direct sunlight. Keep the container near an open window with the sun’s rays falling on the container whenever possible. The sunlight enables it to grow well and gives a rich green colour to the methi leaves

Shoots and leaves are showing – Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

7. Allow to grow for 6 to 7 days, spraying water periodically, until the leaves open and are deep green.

Day 6
Day 6 – Evening and ready for harvest!
Hold the edges of the paper towel and lift the entire crop carefully from the container

8. Remove the methi and prepare for cooking by chopping off the roots which will also ensure the pieces of the paper towel stuck to the roots are discarded.

9. Chop the methi stems into one or two pieces. Cover with water and leave for few minutes for the husk to loosen and separate from the leaves. Some may still remain, but that is okay. Remove and wash again, drain and use. Since there is no mud or sand, repeated rinsing is not necessary.

10. Cook the methi bhaji with baby shrimp or prawns alongwith potatoes. Serve with chappatis (or any bread of your choice) and pickle for a nutritious and complete meal. Please bear in mind that, like anyother leafy vegetable, the quantity of the methi bhaji reduces considerably when cooked.

“Methi Bhaji with Prawns” recipe is in Mai’s Recipes Page 69.

Other options for cooking fresh fenugreek.

Fresh methi has a number of uses. Here is another recipe where you can use fresh methi to cook Methi Murgh. Substitute the dried kasuri methi in this recipe for a cup of the fresh.

Methi Murgh

My sister Sheryl also makes a nice delicious and healthy salad, using shredded tender turnips and fresh methi mixed and garnished with lemon juice and salt. Dhansak the famous Parsi delicacy also has methi as one of its many ingredients.

Please note:-

You may extend the growing period of the methi for a couple of days, until you are ready to cook it, as it is always better to cook the methi freshly harvested for best results. However if necessary, you may store for a couple of days in the fridge. Make sure the methi does not have any moisture, wrap in dry cloth or paper and store.

If you wish to store in the freezer, would suggest chopping off the roots and clean and prepare as you would for cooking. Steam for 2 to 3 minutes, drain the water and leave to cool. Once cool store in zip lock bag in the freezer and use drectly, without thawing, whenever required.

Check out my post on Sprouting seeds and beans & Growing Mung Bean Sprouts

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