Gajar Methi Sabzi

January 29, 2009

I was having a fairly uneventful week. When this gem appeared on the evening news.

Turns out a passenger aboard a Virgin Mumbai to London flight wrote an impassioned complaint to Sir Richard Branson himself about the Indian food he was served.

The excruciatingly hilarious letter went global in no time. Prompting the maverick entrepreneur to personally apologise and invite the disgruntled one to test food at Virgin’s catering house.

Can I come along too?

For years, I have suffered partly-heated yellow gloop parading as curry on flights back to London from India. The desserts taste worryingly like their plastic packaging. Salads are either freezing cold or brown edged. The dry bread roll devoured with lime pickle would easily qualify as the highlight of the mile-high culinary experience.

No wonder families resort to clicking open tupperware tiffin boxes of parathas and dry palyas and sabzis. Give them cutlery and dinnerware while they’re at it, I say!

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Now we have a vocal champion for our cause. Who didn’t stomach the insult sitting down. May this be a lesson to other airlines. In an age of internet connectivity, food awareness and high consumerism, even the smallest gripes could become a stick to beat your brand with.

Digest this with my bitter sweet offering of Gajar Methi, a North Indian winter favourite of sauteed carrots and fresh fenugreek leaves.



Feeds 4:

  • 4 large carrots
  • 250gm fresh fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Half tsp chilli powder
  • Half tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste


Peel and slice the raw carrots into hald centimetre discs. Wash and chop roughly the bunches of fenugreek discarding the hard stalks towards the ends.

In a large frying pan, bring the oil to heat over a high flame. When it’s hot, add in the cumin seeds and as they splutter, chuck in the carrots and the spices. Saute for about five minutes until you can see the carrots softening, then mix in the leaves. Lower the hat to a medium, cover and cook for another five to 10 minutes untilt he leaves wlt and the carrots just fallt apart when probed with a fork.

Add salt to taste and enjoy with a paratha. Preferably in the comfort of your own home.



17 Responses to “Gajar Methi Sabzi”

  1. Padma Says:

    December 5th, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe…I was looking for quick curry last night and I ran into your blog. Simple and delicious. I had to make small changes…I shredded the carrots because I do not like the taste of whole carrot and used kasuri methi soaked as I did not have fresh one… Even my two year old daughter liked it :)

  2. meeso Says:

    February 3rd, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing that link, I am getting a kick out of this letter!

  3. sandeepa Says:

    February 3rd, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Wish to carry that tupperware…but the flight is loong !!!
    Gajar & Methi haven’t tried this combo, shall do soon

  4. Bharti Says:

    February 2nd, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    The letter was hilarious and so true. Love the gajar in methi. We also add aloos and bhee (lotus stem) to this combo.

  5. Elisabeth Winkler Says:

    February 1st, 2009 at 4:59 am

    Yes, that letter really went viral did it not? I saw a mention of it on Farmers’ Weekly’s twitter-feed. And it was a brilliant and funny letter, that spoke a universal truth we all recognised!

  6. mandira Says:

    January 30th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I have some methi sitting in the fridge, guess it’s time for some of my bitter revenge huh!

  7. JennDZ_The LeftoverQueen Says:

    January 30th, 2009 at 9:48 am

    That is such an awesome story! I love it!

  8. Sia Says:

    January 30th, 2009 at 9:09 am

    he he he… Seemed like all the news channels were after that news :) everytime before we board the flight we have hearty bf/dinner at airport cafe’s (and now Bengaluru internation airport has quite swanky places) so that we don’t have to undergo the torture of eating the food served in flights. and we also carry few fruits and chocolate bars. anything to avoid flight food ;)
    and coming to ur recipe of carrot and methi, very unsual combination but i can almost see myself loving it :D

  9. notyet100 Says:

    January 30th, 2009 at 7:37 am

    looks different,,,healthy and yummy,..hope u dng good,..nbd takin cre of urself,.:-)

  10. Shreya Says:

    January 30th, 2009 at 5:04 am

    hi, very interesting the recipe..totally agree with food served on international flights!

  11. deeba Says:

    January 30th, 2009 at 1:38 am

    Hey Mallika, I love gajar methi, the kids hate their veggies, & we all totally dislike airline food, Virgin or BA. Oily, tasteless & total gloop. What drama when the ‘valuable’ customer complains, & Branson & Willie Walsh run in different directions trying to say they never knew. Of course they know. But the point is, Indian food picked up from Delhi/India is much better than what comes in from the rest of the world. I’ve been to the flight kitchens a number of times, many years ago, & they used to do a brilliant job ex Delhi.

  12. Alka Says:

    January 29th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Oh tht was hilarious,just read the letter and i hope authorities do take some action….sincerely hope so ;-)
    Well coming to food at ur place,it looks marvellous…and nutritious too

  13. Ramya's Mane Adige Says:

    January 29th, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    haha :D funny letter!!! I have stopped eating on flights. I manage with candies and coke.. :D

    carrot and methi combo is something new to me!! Sounds delicious…

  14. tbc Says:

    January 29th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Oh, I just saw this on the news! Funny and well-written.:)

    Gajar-methi is a combination I’ve never tried before. The sweetness of the carrots would nicely offset the bitterness of the methi.

  15. Asha Says:

    January 29th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    HeHe!! That letter is hilarious. “Look at this, Charles, just look at it!”
    That custard really looks like Gajar halwa!

    I haven’t been on a plane lately, so I can’t comment on food but most airline food is horrendous I guess. Good for him, he got to eat with the big gun himself! :P

    Carrot stir fry looks yum, easy and Methi is a great addition! :)

  16. indosungod Says:

    January 29th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    But Mallika (copied from the same letter), Paul Charles, Virgin’s Director of Corporate Communications seems to think that food was “award-winning food which is very popular on our Indian routes.” I sincerely hope not.

    And what is with the Indian Vegeterian and Asian Vegeterian choices they offer. I picked one of those by mistake on a trip and for breakfast we got a dry bun with equally dry I think what was supposedly roasted egg plant and a piece of tomato. I stopped “special order” soon after.

    This dish is totally new to me. Carrots with methi, go to try it some time.

  17. Margaret Says:

    January 29th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Hello Mallika – I have just seen this letter in my local newspaper – how funny!

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