Methi dal recipe – Lentils cooked with fenugreek leaves, spices and herbs. Dal or lentil curry is a staple in most Indian households. We make lentils atleast 3 to 4 times a week. No one get bored eating it as there are numerous ways to make dal. Methi refers to fenugreek leaves & dal is lentils. Methi dal is prepared in almost all regions of India and there are not many ways to make it.
Most Indian restaurants also serve this in a thali. In South India or in Andhra restaurants it is served as menthi kura pappu. The south Indian version has curry leaves in the seasoning.
To make methi dal, usually all the ingredients are just dumped in the cooker and pressure cooked till soft. Then a seasoning or tadka is made separately and poured over it.
This seasoning brings out the flavors of the whole spices, garlic, red chilies and curry leaves. To make this methi dal we don’t use a lot of spice powders like the other dishes.
This simple dal can be served with plain rice, roti, ragi sankati or mudde, cooked millets or with phulka.
To make methi dal, lentils and methi leaves can be cooked together. But I have added the methi leaves after cooking dal just not to overcook them. The leaves can are sauteed in oil or ghee along with the temper and added to the cooked dal.
To make andhra style menthi kura pappu, most people use tamarind to give a sour taste to the dal. I don’t prefer to use tamarind most times so I try with other ingredients like amchur powder,dry mango slices, a piece of fresh raw mango or lemon juice.
If you don’t like your dal to be sour, you can skip the sour ingredient.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ¾ cup dal (tur dal or moong dal or a combination)
- 1 to 1 ¼ cup methi leaves (menthi kura) roughly chopped
- 2 medium tomato chopped
- 1 to 2 green chili (adjust to taste)
- ½ teaspoon Salt or as needed
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- 1½ tablespoon Ghee or oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin / jeera
- ¼ teaspoon mustard
- 1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
- 1 Pinch hing or asafoetida (optional)
- 1 red chili broken
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or a small piece of raw mango or tamarind or amchur powder
Stovetop methi dal
- Add dal to a pot or pressure cooker. Rinse it very well.
- Pour 1¾ cups water, tomato and chili. If using dried or fresh unripe mango, add few pieces.
- Pressure cook for 2 whistles. If cooking in a separate bowl, place it in the cooker and pressure cook for 4 whistles. If cooking in Instant pot, Press the pressure cook button & set the timer for 10 minutes.
- While the dal cooks, pluck methi leaves and add them to a large pot filled with water. Rinse them and discard the water. Repeat rinsing and drain.
- When the dal is cooked, mash it with the back of a ladle, if you like smooth dal.
- Pour ghee or oil to a small hot pan.
- Add cumin, mustard, red chili. When they begin to splutter add hing, curry leaves and garlic.
- When the curry leaves turn crisp, add the methi leaves & fry until they wilt off completely.
- Add turmeric & salt. Next add cooked dal to this and simmer for a minute. If the methi dal is too thick pour some water and cook for a little longer.
- Serve methi dal with rice, phulka or mudde. Squeeze off some lemon juice.
Instant pot methi dal
- Press saute button on the Instant pot and pour ghee or oil to the inner pot / steel insert.
- Then add mustard, cumin, red chilli & garlic. When the spices pop, add curry leaves and hing.
- Add methi leaves and green chillies. Saute for a minute.
- Press cancel button & then add tomatoes, dal, turmeric and salt.
- Pour 2 cups water and deglaze the pot by scrubbing the bottom of the pot with a spatula.
- You can also keep a trivet in the pot and place your rice bowl over it.
- Secure the Instant pot with the lid & position the steam release handle to sealing.
- Press the pressure cook button (high pressure) and set the timer to 10 minutes.
- When the IP is done wait for the natural pressure release.
- If the dal is too thick stir in some hot water. Check the salt and add more if needed and squeeze some lemon juice.
- Serve methi dal with rice or roti.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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