Wash the methi leaves and keep them in a colander. Sprinkle a big pinch of salt.
Toss the methi around so salt is mixed well. Let it rest for 10 minutes. During this resting time, salt will draw the moisture from the leaves.
Squeeze the handful of leaves at a time and discard the collected water. Most of the bitterness is removed through that water.
Now chop the leaves and keep them aside.
Cooking Green Peas:
In the microwave: Take frozen peas, 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook on high power for 4 minutes.
If using fresh then it may take a longer time to cook. You may need to boil or steam them in the pressure cooker.
Making Onion Paste:
Heat 1 tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot add whole spices (cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, green cardamoms) and saute for 30-40 seconds or until you get a nice aroma of the spices.
Then add ginger, garlic and green chilies. Saute for a minute or until the raw smell of ginger garlic goes away.
Add chopped onion and add a little salt to speed up the cooking process. Mix and cook until onion is soft and translucent or light pink in color.
Add cashews nuts and mix.
Once this onion mixture cools down slightly, take it into the blender. Add little water to make the grinding process easy. Make it into a smooth paste.
Making Methi Matar Malai:
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the same pan on medium heat. Once hot add cumin seeds and let them sizzle a bit.
Then add prepared onion paste and cook until it thickens. It may take around 3-4 minutes (depending on how much you have added while grinding).
Then add chopped methi leaves. Mix and cook for 2 minutes. If the paste is sticking to the bottom of the pan then add a splash of water and mix.
Add cooked green peas. Mix well and cook for a minute.
Add water, remaining salt and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Do stir once or twice in between.
Add garam masala and mix.
Lastly, add heavy cream and mix. Bring the gravy to a boil and then turn off the stove.
Reducing the bitterness of methi leaves step is optional. Firstly, here in the USA, we do not get that bitter methi compared to what we get in India. Secondly, at home, we all love the slightly bitter flavor of it, so most of the time I skip that step.
Make methi matar malai healthy for everyday dinner/lunch: Skip the cream. Replace the water with milk. It will be less creamy and low in calories.
Substitute for fresh methi: Use 1 to 1 ¼ cups of frozen leaves, I recommend using the one that has fewer stalks (dandiya) in it. I have tried many brands of frozen methi and all of them have stalks along with leaves. Some brands have more stalks while some have less. Personally, I prefer the Vadilal brand.