Sunday, June 03, 2012

Growing Methi

In Thal my Koli people are very fond of Methi or Fenugreek. They love it as a herb and even in their sweet, can't believe it read about it on Methiche Ladu! This influenced my likings a lot too. For me Barik Methi or Young methi is always associated with Thal, we would get those tiny herb bundles from only the village if someone was visiting us. It made a rare appearance in the Fort Market if the farmers from Vasai brought it to sell. It is considered quite exotic as it is not easily available. This herb is very delicate and has almost no shelf life. It is best used in half a day of harvesting. My father like a true Thal born Koli loves barik methi and I started growing it just for him. Growing methi is very easy. The real challenge is harvesting it and cleaning it before cooking.

In my post on the beloved Barik Methi Moog Dal of Kolis from Thal I had talked about how my grand aunt grew methi. Though I follow almost the same steps I grow it on a semi soil medium. This may be useful for urban gardeners like me who have a limited space and resources.

I grow methi is three stages 
  • Soaking
    1. Measure 1/4 to 1/2 cup methi/ fenugreek seeds.
    2. Add the seeds in a jar and cover with 4-5 inches of water above the seeds.
    3. Soak them in water overnight.
  • Sprouting
    1. Drain the soaked seeds into a basket or mesh.
    2. Let the sprouts come out a few cms.

  • Planting
    1. I use a big planter plate, 12 inches to grown Methi. It is just right in depth for Barik methi, as it will grow only 4-5 inches. When I need to grow big Methi I can use a deep pot or a crate with more growing media.
    2. Ensure there is a small hole in the bottom of the pot for draining excess water.
    3. Layer the bottom with an inch or two of coconut coir or hay. I had collected coconut coir from the coconuts used in my kitchen for the first time. The second time I used  the hay from the crate in which the mangoes were delivered.
    4. Fill up to the brim with planting soil upto 2-3 inch. The total growing media should be approx. 5 inches.
    5. Sprinkle the sprouts over the planting media.
    6. Sprinkle water to moisten the soil. Do this every day.
    7. Cover thinly with dry leaves/ saw dust /  or a wet muslin cloth to protect from birds picking the sprouts.
    8. Ensure enough sunlight, but not direct.
    9. In a week I got 5 inch tall Barik Methi.
Make sure you are not over watering the plant. This herb requires less water and a growing media with low water retention.

Harvest : 
Pluck the methi young and harvest the entire lot for single use if you are making a curry.

Cleaning for Use:

Pluck clumps of the methi and tie lightly with a thread. Wash off the soil thoroughly shaking off the grits. Do this 4-5 times to get rid of all the dirt. This cleaning is a very important step if you want to enjoy the pain of labour that you put in growing the methi.

With 1/4 cup seeds you will get enough harvest for just spiking a curry with methi leaves. I made a Tomatochi Bhaaji and spiked it with Barik methi.

With 1/2 cup seeds I got enough to make Barik Methi Moog Dal, it serves 4 generously. Felt so happy with the harvest and my recreation of my Aaji's recipe. This was a gift for my fave MJ Kaka last Sunday.
Some uses:
  • Use for garnishing in salads, it gives nice crunch and a flavor of the robust herb.
  • Use my recipe of Barik Methi Moog Dal or create a recipe of your own and share it here.
Note: Depending on your weather conditions, the time for soaking, sprouting and growing will vary hence I do not use Day 1, 2, 3 a parameter to monitor my gardening. 

This is 15 days old Methi (28th Oct 2012)

 1 month old methi

I can't go to a farm to pick my food as I live in Mumbai so why not bring the farm into the kitchen!


  1. Very healthy dish....I have never had this but intend to make this very soon. If only I am successful in sprouting them you think it will sprout in 15-20 degrees day time temperature?

    1. Preeti seeds sprout at temps slightly higher than room temp. If you are able to sprout other seeds like moog or matki its easy to sprout methi seeds. Try a small batch and let me know.

  2. lovely dish. never thought of using small saplings this way. used to grow a lot of methi in Bangalore but here growing them in pot seems impossible. failed miserably the last 3 times I tried.

  3. Anjali,

    Thanks for the information! I have a question- are the methi seeds for growing 'Barik Methi' different from ones used to grow regular, 'Jaadi' methi?

  4. Anon yes they are the same, Barik and Jaadi refers to the maturity of the herb. Barik is young while Jaadi is mature leaved herb. Am a soon sowing the seeds again will update on the blog once the Jaadi methi is ready to show.

  5. Anjali, Seems u r blogging for quite some time--- Keep reading and suggesting

  6. someone advised me to split methi seeds in two portions and sow them. I bought methi seeds in nursery the seeds were as small as rawa...can some one throw some light on this?

    1. Never heard of that with regards to methi. As this is a single seed. Yeah but it's true in case of coriander seeds or dhane as what we see it a fruit with two seeds inside it. When we split them the two seeds can be easily germinated. Humm I do not know much about varieties of methi but what I use is the pantry staple, I haven't seen rava sized methi.

  7. Hi Anjali, my first time visiting here (I think! I'm sure I would have remembered this!) and am going back through some of your posts -- I have been trying to grow methi in the garden but it doesn't look as lovely as this! You have so many delicious dishes to try -- that giant brinjal fry from 2006 has me wishing I had some eggplant from the garden right now :) Best wishes!

    1. Hi Linda! You are back and good to see you visit and comment here for the first time, yes first time. But I have been reading and visiting your blog on and off. I'd be so happy if you tried any of it. The fried brinjal is lovely and if its from your own garden then that's awesome. I have planted a brinjal for the first time here in my container garden and it has just started flowering. Keeping visiting and commenting.

  8. Good information, will try. thankyou

  9. Anjali, Thanks for this wonderful post on growing methi with detail explanation and beautiful images...reminded me of tiny barik methi bunches tied with coconut leaf threads sold by vegetable sellers from Vasai in Goregaon market in mumbai. It has been several years since I ate barik methi...I will grow methi in pot this coming spring.


    1. You must! it is so easy. I am glad the post brought back memories for you and that you are inspired to grow your own!

  10. Hi,
    I am an Indian living in Central America- we do not get Methi, so i brought seeds from India.
    I got the info and found it quite useful-
    My question is that how can i make re-plant or get seeds from the crop. as i would get short of the seeds soon,

    1. Hi Anu, I harvest Methi for microgreens and the full grown leaves, never grown till seeding. But you can let it just grow to fruit bearing stage and let it dry out to get seeds and save them for future.

  11. Hi Anjali,

    Can I let the methi plants grow tall and cut off at the stem to throw in daal? Will it grow back again?


    1. Yes ofcourse, it should grow back. Leave about 2 inches above the planting media.

  12. Methi gives delicious taste from other leafy. Mixed with dal yummy to eat for our taste buds. My mom loved to grow in the home. preferably ginger, Methi, & Gongura.

  13. Hi
    My methi plants are falling and they don't seem to hold firmly to the soil. I am using the soil that I purchased from nursery and mixed with some compost and growing it in a pot. It has been a week since I started and the plants have grown nearly 2 inches tall but now they seem to be dying. What am I doing wrong. Please help.

    1. Hi Bhanumati for methi you need to have a soil that drains well like sand, fine gravel etc. In your case the roots are rotting her they are collapsing. Pl. start afresh. You can harvest the methi and use it if it falls.

  14. Consumption of Fenugreek seeds reduce the cholesterol levels. It helps to reduce the low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) level from the body and prevents the patient from various abnormal conditions, such as heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and strokes.


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