Monk fish and Prawn Methi, Marsoor Dal, Lemon and Chana Dal Pilaf with Paratha and Chutneys

  • Time: 3 hours
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: medium

…Fair enough, I decided to try a couple bunches. After a little research, I came up with a great little combo. I’m now definitely hooked on fresh fenugreek!

A dinner to remember!

What you need

For the monk fish and prawn methi

400g monk fish tail

360g raw king prawns

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp paprika

2 limes

Good pinch salt

30g ginger

4 cloves garlic

30g spring onion, greens separated from whites

30g fresh methi (fenugreek leaves)

30g fresh coriander

1 tbs kasturi methi (dried fenugreek leaves) optional

125 ml chicken stock or water


Marsoor dal

200g red split lentils

500ml water

1/2 medium onion

1/8 tsp asefotea

1 glove garlic

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp tomato puree

2 tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

6 cardamon pods

4 cloves

Small stick of cinnamon

1 dried red chilli


For the pilaf

300g basmati rice

Yellow split peas

750ml water

5 large banana shallots

1 large stick celery

30g ginger

1 lemon – zest and flesh without membrane or pips

3 tbs chopped coriander stalk

2 tbs safflower or pinch saffron

1/4 tsp turmeric

For the paratha

300g chapati flour

200g plain white flour

1 tsp powdered garlic

1 tsp nigella seeds

1 tsp mixed dried herbs

1/2 tsp salt


300ml hot water – plus extra

1 tbs vegetable oil


For the yogurt chutney

300g Greek yogurt

30g fresh coriander

30g fresh mint

1/2 clove garlic

2 spring onions


Salt and pepper

Dad's Recipe Tales

I happened across an unusual fresh herb at the market: ‘Fenugreek!’, the stall holder calls out. I asked if I could taste some – definitely interesting. I then asked the man how he cooks with it. ‘How would I know,’ he said, ‘we don’t cook with it, we’re from the Middle East – only Indians cook with it – they call it methi.’ And so, my cooking everything methi phase begins…

How Dad Cooked It

Creating a full-on Indian meal is quite time consuming. If you don’t have the time, the fish methi recipe is simple and can be cooked in half an hour, serve it up with some plain rice and green vegetables. If you want to go a little further, my marsoor dal recipe is fairly basic and therefore quick and easy to make. Finally, you could buy some chapatis or nan breads or even parathas readymade – they are much easier than you might imagine.

Using ghee helps give an authentic taste, but it is also very rich, I tend to cut back on the ghee and top up with a little vegetable oil. If you do not have ghee, you could clarify your own butter, melting the butter gently and straining away (and discarding) the white solids. Otherwise substitute with vegetable oil or a mix of vegetable oil and ordinary butter.

Monk fish and Prawn methi

  1. Marinate the fish. Remove all the membrane from the monk fish. Cut the fish into small chunks and put into a bowl with the prawns. Add the turmeric, cayenne, paprika, a small pinch of salt and the juice of one lime. Mix well. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and mix. Marinate for 20 minutes.
  2. Salt the methi. Pick off the leaves only of the methi. Wash the methi, drain and put into a bowl with the salt. Leave for 10 minutes and wash and drain again. (This removes any bitterness form the methi.)
  3. Make the curry. Peel and chop the garlic and ginger. Chop the spring onion, separating the white part from the green, keep the green to one side. Put two tablespoons of ghee into a frying pan and add the ginger garlic and fry on medium heat for 3 minutes, add the white spring onion and fry for 2 minutes, add the fish and prawns and fry for 2 minutes, add the methi and green spring onion and fry for a further minute, add the kasturi methi if using and the stock or water and bring to a gently simmer for about 5 minutes. Finally, chop the coriander and add to the pan, stir and adjust the seasoning, adding more lime juice if needed. Place in serving dish.
  4. Make the topping. Slice the red chilli into thin rings. Sprinkle over methi, along with some chopped coriander and another squeeze of lime.

Marsoor dhal

  1. Prepare the vegetables. Weigh and pick through the lentils. Rinse. Chop the onion and garlic.
  2. Make the dal. Fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes on a medium heat in a small amount of vegetable oil. Add the asefotea and fry for half a minute more, add the lentils, the tomato puree, turmeric and the water and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Puree the lentils using a stick blender, adjust the liquid so that it is the consistency of a loose porridge. If it is too thin continue to cook. Test for seasoning and put into a serving dish and keep warm.
  3. Make the topping. Heat two tablespoons of ghee in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and fry for a minute, add the cumin, mustard seeds and chilli and fry for a minute or two more until the seeds just start to pop without burning. Pour the oil and spices over the lentils.

Chana dal pilaf

  1. Pre-cook the split peas. Weigh and pick over the pulses. Rinse and put into a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes and leave to soak in the water.
  2. Rinse the rice. Weigh and rinse the rice in several changes of water. Put into a strainer and allow to drain until quite dry.
  3. Make the pilaf. Chop the celery and ginger and 4 of the shallots into a fine dice and place to a large heavy pan set to a medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of ghee. Fry for 5 minutes until the shallots are soft. Add the rice and continue to fry for 5 minutes stirring continuously. Drain the split peas, retaining the water. Add the peas to the rice with the turmeric, lemon, safflower or saffron and coriander stems. Measure 750ml of water using the water from the peas topping up with boiling water. Add to the rice mixture and bring to the boil. Reduce to the lowest heat level, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in a serving dish.
  4. Make the topping. Chop the remaining shallot in half lengthwise, slice thinly across the cut, put the slices into a frying pan with a little vegetable oil and fry gently until browned (but not burnt), drain on kitchen paper and scatter across the pilaf.


  1. Make the dough. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Measure out the hot water into a jug (my hot is about half way between warm and boiling). Pour into the dry ingredients, then add the oil. Mix with a knife or fork. Bring the dough together. It should be moist and pliant, neither wet nor dry. Knead for a couple of minutes on a clean surface. Wrap in cling film and set somewhere cool for an hour.
  2. Roll out the dough. Divide into small tangerine size balls. On a floured surface push the ball out with your thumbs and fingers, Turn frequently, when it is about 12cm wide, use a rolling pin to roll out into a ‘side-dish’ size. Using a pastry brush, apply a film of ghee on one side and sprinkle with plain flour. Roll up the disk into a tight and long cylinder. Keep rolling out the cylinder until it is about 25cm, then coil in a circle on top of itself (like a coiled snake!) then push down with your finger to make another small disc. This then needs to be rolled out to the ‘side-dish’ size. The dough is elastic and will tend to retract in on itself, so before cooking throw it back and forth into your palms, coaxing it back to size.
  3. Cook the paratha. Heat a cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan on high heat. Fry the paratha on each side until browned. Brush the top side with ghee and put onto a warm plate. Some recipe say to coat with ghee whilst cooking but this tends to generate too much smoke for a domestic kitchen. Brushing on hot ghee later will be easier. Continue with all the paratha covering the plate and keeping warm.

Yogurt chutney

  1. Put the yoghurt into a bowl. Pick the leaves from the herbs and chop finely. Chop the spring onion finely, using some of the green part. Add the herbs and onion to the yoghurt. Grate half a clove of garlic over the bowl, add the juice of half a lemon and mix well. Taste for seasoning adding more lemon if necessary. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour before serving.

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