Today it’s Eid el-Fitr, also in Rome. In most neighborhoods you probably won’t notice anything different, but since I live in the most multicultural area of the city, you can feel it in the air. Eid is the feast to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the month in which Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking, and smoking from dawn until dusk. I can only imagine their happiness.

Every day, wafts of all sorts of cooking scents enter through my window. But today, it’s been non-stop and the aromas appear to be more exotic. Oh, how I wish I’d been invited to one of those celebration dinners. For Eid, Muslims prepare the most wonderful and elaborate dishes. Nihari, haleem, biryani, rasmalai, baklava, the names itself make my mouth water.

Italy is very conservative, food-wise (and in many other ways), so I had the hardest time finding ‘exotic’ spices like ginger, coriander and turmeric in my old neighborhood. No longer! The best feature of this neighborhood is the Esquilino market, where you can find absolutely anything you desire to spice up your life. I couldn’t be happier.

I prepared a methi curry for lunch today. This is a curry of boiled fenugreek leaves and potatoes. Quite bitter, I’d say it’s an acquired taste. You can also use spinach, which makes it a lot milder. The right dish to prepare in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Pakistan at the end of the month.

Aloo Methi (Fenugreek and potato curry)

  • 100 gram methi leaves
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 pinch ground chilli pepper

Soak methi leaves in warm water for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and drain the water. Cut potatoes in cubes of 2-3 centimeter. Heat olive oil. Add potatoes and salt to taste and cook for 15 minutes. Add methi leaves, garam masala and 1 cup of water. Mix and cover. Cook until the potatoes are soft. To soften the bitter flavors, you can add heavy cream to taste (2-3 tablespoons).

Irene

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