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Lentils With Fresh Fenugreek Leaves (Methi Dal) Recipe

Shwetha Bhat is passionate about food and cooking. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and share her recipes.

Methi dal

Methi dal

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.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

15 min

25 min

3 servings (1 cup per serving)

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. In a cooker add toor dal (pigeon pea lentils). Wash thoroughly a couple of times till the water runs clear.
  2. 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.
  3. Turn off the flame and let the pressure release by itself.
  4. Once the pressure has released, open the lid, mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle and set aside.
  5. Chop the onions, tomato, ginger and green chilies. Set aside.
  6. Pluck fresh fenugreek (methi) leaves, wash and drain. Set aside. (You can chop them too).
  7. In a pan heat the oil or ghee. Add the cumin seeds and hing. Let the cumin seeds splutter.
  8. Add chopped onions, ginger and green chilies. Saute till the onion turns translucent.
  9. Add chopped tomatoes and red chili powder. Stir and cook for 1 minute or till the tomatoes turns mushy.
  10. Add washed and drained fenugreek leaves. Saute till the leaves wilt.
  11. Add the tempering mixture to the cooked lentils and mix well.
  12. 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.
  13. Serve hot with chapati, roti or rice.

Step-by-Step Photos

Add one cup of toor dal (pigeon pea lentils) in a cooker.

Add one cup of toor dal (pigeon pea lentils) in a cooker.

Rinse the lentils a couple of times.

Rinse the lentils a couple of times.

To the rinsed lentils, add 2 cups of water, turmeric powder and salt.

To the rinsed lentils, add 2 cups of water, turmeric powder and salt.

Close the lid and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles or till lentils are soft. Turn off the flame and let the pressure release by itself.

Close the lid and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles or till lentils are soft. Turn off the flame and let the pressure release by itself.

When the pressure releases naturally, open the lid.

When the pressure releases naturally, open the lid.

Mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle. (This makes the dal smooth.)

Mash the lentils lightly with the back of a ladle. (This makes the dal smooth.)

Transfer the mashed lentils to a vessel or pot and set aside.

Transfer the mashed lentils to a vessel or pot and set aside.

Finely chop onions, tomatoes, ginger and green chilies. Set aside.

Finely chop onions, tomatoes, ginger and green chilies. Set aside.

Pluck fresh fenugreek leaves from stems.

Pluck fresh fenugreek leaves from stems.

Wash the leaves to get rid of all dirt and drain the water. Set aside. (You can finely chop the leaves, too.)

Wash the leaves to get rid of all dirt and drain the water. Set aside. (You can finely chop the leaves, too.)

In a pan, heat oil or ghee. Add cumin seeds and hing. Let cumin seeds crackle.

In a pan, heat oil or ghee. Add cumin seeds and hing. Let cumin seeds crackle.

Add finely chopped onion, ginger and green chilies.

Add finely chopped onion, ginger and green chilies.

Fry till onion turns translucent.

Fry till onion turns translucent.

Add chopped tomatoes and red chili powder.

Add chopped tomatoes and red chili powder.

Mix and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Mix and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add washed and drained fenugreek leaves.

Add washed and drained fenugreek leaves.

Fry till fenugreek leaves wilt.

Fry till fenugreek leaves wilt.

Add this tempered mixture to cooked lentils.

Add this tempered mixture to cooked lentils.

Mix everything properly.

Mix everything properly.

Add water to achieve the desired consistency and cook the dal over low flame. (If you want thick dal then add less water.)

Add water to achieve the desired consistency and cook the dal over low flame. (If you want thick dal then add less water.)

Add salt if required and continue to cook dal for 4-5 minutes over low flame.

Add salt if required and continue to cook dal for 4-5 minutes over low flame.

Recipe Notes

  • 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.

Comments

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on February 21, 2020:

Nice recipe. Fenugreek leaves give it a characteristic flavour.

Shwetha bhat (author) from Bengaluru on January 13, 2020:

Thanks for your words.

Shwetha bhat (author) from Bengaluru on January 13, 2020:

Even I love lentils. Try this recipe and enjoy.

Lora Hollings on January 12, 2020:

I order this dish every time I go to an Indian restaurant. I just love it! Now I will be able to make it myself with your wonderful step by step instructions. Thank you for this great recipe. This dish is high in nutrition, low in fat and delicious. I just love lentils. They are so good for us too. Thanks for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 12, 2020:

This looks like a very good meal. I don't know if I can buy fresh lentils in the grocery store but I can buy dried lentils. I like the way you use so many pictures when explaining how to cook this dish.