Shwetha Bhat is passionate about food and cooking. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and share recipes from her native Indian cuisine.
Methi Dal: Tasty, Nutritious and Vegan
In India, lentils (dal) is a staple food. Methi dal is a traditional dish that incorporates pigeon pea lentils, fenugreek (methi) leaves, onion, tomato and spices. Fenugreek leaves are a nutritious green leafy vegetable that adds a tasty twist to this dish.
Methi dal has a lovely aroma and is very easy to make. It comes together in just 30 minutes. The recipe is also very flexible; you can use different types of lentils as well as different greens. You can even make this dish without adding any greens at all—though the greens make this simple curry more nutritious, healthy and interesting. It's a great way to include more healthy greens in your diet.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
3 servings (1 cup per serving)
- 1 cup toor dal (pigeon pea lentils), washed
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups water, or as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt, to taste
- 1 to 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 green chilies, chopped
- 1 to 2 teaspoons oil or ghee
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
- 1/2 to 1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves, washed and drained
- In a cooker add toor dal (pigeon pea lentils). Wash thoroughly a couple of times till the water runs clear.
- To the rinsed lentils in the cooker, add 1 cup of water, salt and turmeric powder. Close the lid and cook for 3 to 4 whistles or till the lentils are properly cooked and have turned soft.
- Turn off the flame and let the pressure release by itself.
- Once the pressure has released, open the lid, mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle and set aside.
- Chop the onions, tomato, ginger and green chilies. Set aside.
- Pluck fresh fenugreek (methi) leaves, wash and drain. Set aside. (You can chop them too).
- In a pan heat the oil or ghee. Add the cumin seeds and hing. Let the cumin seeds splutter.
- Add chopped onions, ginger and green chilies. Saute till the onion turns translucent.
- Add chopped tomatoes and red chili powder. Stir and cook for 1 minute or till the tomatoes turns mushy.
- Add washed and drained fenugreek leaves. Saute till the leaves wilt.
- Add the tempering mixture to the cooked lentils and mix well.
- Add water to achieve the desired consistency. If you want thick dal, add only a small amount of water (or none at all). Add salt to taste, if needed. Cook over medium to low flame for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with chapati, roti or rice.
- You can prepare this dal without adding any greens.
- You can replace pigeon pea lentils (toor dal) with moong dal, chana dal (bengal gram), masoor dal (orange lentils) or you can use a combination of any or all of these lentils.
- You can replace methi leaves with other leaves like spinach leaves, amaranth leaves etc.
- You can first soak pigeon pea lentils for 1 to 2 hours and then use. Soaking reduces the cook time of lentils.
- You can skip using onions and tomatoes in this dish, but adding them will give nice taste to the dal.
- Wash fenugreek leaves very well to get rid of the dirt.
- Try adding lemon juice (optional addition).
- Ghee is used to get a nice aroma. You can also use a mixture of oil and ghee.