India’s diverse cuisine is a thing of wonder. It’s amazing how each state and region boasts of a cuisine that’s exquisite and full of history. From appetisers to desserts each cuisine will wow and leave you wanting more.
Dal (Lentils) in some form of the other is one constant in all cuisines across the country. It is incredible how many things you can create with lentils; appetisers, snacks, soups, stews, mains, curries, spice powders and even desserts. And here we thought potatoes are the world’s most versatile ingredient ever! Don’t even get me started on the variety of lentils we use in Indian cooking on a day-to-day basis. I can sing praises for lentils for all my life and it will never be enough.
Today, I bring to you a dal in this avatar loaded with green goodness. Methi Dal is a simple dish made combining fenugreek leaves and red lentils, cooked with some flavourful spices.
Masoor dal tastes sensational with greens in general but methi takes the humble lentils to a whole new level. Methi dal is quite the comfort food but packed with nutrition. It is loaded with proteins, vitamins and goodness of iron. This South Indian style Methi Dal is perfect with hot steamed rice and a dollop of ghee.
- Frozen methi – 3 cubes or 2 tightly packed cups of fresh methi
- Onion – 1 medium
- Garlic – 5 cloves
- Green chillies – 6
- Masoor dal (Red lentils) – 2 cups
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tspn
- Chilli powder – 1 tspn
- Coriander powder – 1 tspn
- Sambhar powder – 1.5 tspn
- Vadagam (optional) – 1 tspn
- Ghee – 2 tblspn
- Salt – To taste
- Ghee/ oil – 1 tspn
- Mustard seeds – 1 heaped tspn
- Dried red chillies – 2
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Asafoetida – 1 pinch
- Wash and set aside the lentils.
- Pour warm water over the frozen methi cubes.
- Once thawed, strain the greens and reserve the water.
- Heat ghee in a pressure cooker.
- Sautee the chopped garlic and onion until soft.
- Add the thawed methi leaves and green chillies.
- Toss in the spices, salt and masoor dal.
- Mix to combine the ingredients.
- Pour the reserved water and some more to cover the dal.
- Top it off with the vadagam.
- Pressure cook the dal for 5 whistles.
- Wait until the pressure settles. Open the cooker when it is safe to do so.
- Mash the dal to make it soft and to combine the ingredients.
- At this stage, you could leave the dal as it is or blend it into a smooth mixture.
- I prefer the latter. I used a hand blender to make the methi dal to achieve the smooth texture.
- Heat oil in a small pan.
- Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
- Add the curry leaves, dried red chillies and asafoetida.
- Once you get the crackling sound, remove the pan from the stove.
- Top off the dal with the tempering.
Serve hot with hot rice and ghee.
- Swap masoor dal for moong dal or toor dal or any other to suit your taste.
- If you can’t find methi, swap it with baby spinach or other spinach varieties. Please note that by using any other variety of greens, you will not be able to achieve that unique flavour that methi gives.
- If you’re using fresh methi, clean the greens thoroughly.
- Vadagam renders this dish its unique and flavourful touch. If you can’t get your hands on the ingredient, omit it or deep fry garlic and onion until crisp and add it.