A delicious and useful essential in any kitchen, especially a typical Andhra one.
Methi seeds powder is very easily made, and just in case you are wondering whether a "step-by-step" is justified, let me explain.
The first time I watched the process, the thing that surprised me was the duration of roasting. Left to myself, I would have probably stopped halfway there (they look pretty done even when just lightly browned). But you really need to keep at it on a low heat for quite some time till it is very brown (though not burnt!).
So, in fact, my main reason for documenting this here, is to identify how much to roast the seeds. This I've attempted to achieve by comparing the seeds in a before and after (roasting) photograph in the hope that it will be a reasonably accurate indicator.
I'm also going to take this opportunity to suggest that spices are a great way to start buying "organic" (in case you haven't already), because, spices are often used in small quantities, the cost won't really matter, (it shouldn't, really, for ANY organic product, but let's leave that for another post) besides which they're also generally used as-is ie "unwashed", so not having any chemicals sprayed on is better still. The benefits of organic produce apply all the more when the spice is used medicinally, which, for example, methi powder can be. In India, consuming 1/4 or 1/2 or one teaspoon or so of this powder is often used in the natural treatment of blood-sugar control by diabetics (though please exercise caution, consult your doc, etc., and keep a close check for hypoglycemia if trying this out newly).
There are many organic versions available, some from local co-ops, or even unbranded - which I feel are the best of all. Here I've used methi seeds from 24-Letter Mantra, a brand that's easily available in many department stores as well as online ones in Bangalore.
Place the seeds in a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai (cast iron would be great),
And roast over a low flame with constant stirring.
Roasting the methi seeds caramelizes some of it's sugars, rendering it less bitter and altogether more palatable. When nicely browned, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Here is a comparison of unroasted and roasted methi seeds side-by-side.
I use the chutney jar in my mixie to grind the seeds to a powder -
A thorough whizz - to make a fine, or medium-fine powder,
And it's done. At this stage you are bound to notice that the aroma is remarkable. Strangely reminiscent of coffee (it must be something about both being bitter seeds roasted and ground!) I always have everyone - including children coming up to see "What's cooking?" because of the awesome aroma!
Allow the powder to cool before bottling in an airtight jar. This can be stored for several weeks (at least I do), though when using in pickles, freshly-prepared is best.
Here's a comparision for colours of methi seeds roasted and unroasted as well as the powder made from roasted methi seeds - which doesn't look as brown after processing in the grinder!