methi dal

Methi Dal Recipe (Menthi Kura Pappu)

By Swasthi on August 25, 2023, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Methi Dal translates to fenugreek with lentils. It is a simple, quick, delicious and healthy Indian lentil dish made by simmering fenugreek leaves with lentils (toor dal), herbs and spices. Methi Dal is best served with plain steamed rice & a little ghee. It can also be served with Chapati, roti, bhakri, plain parathas, quinoa or millets. A Vegetable salad or Kachumber, papads, yogurt and pickle go well as sides.

Methi Dal - Mentikura pappu

Like every other Indian dish, even lentils aka dal is cooked in countless number of ways.

About Methi Dal

The quickest & the easiest way to make Methi Dal is to dump all the ingredients – dal, fenugreek leaves, tomatoes, onions, chilies, garlic, turmeric and water to a pressure cooker.

Pressure cook until soft and then make a tadka/tempering with whole and ground spices like the way I have shown in this Dal Tadka recipe. This is one way I make when I’m short of time.

Being a Mom to the pickiest boys I often deviate from the easy cooking methods to make our food more delicious.

This recipe is one such and makes a delicious bowl of methi dal which is going to be loved by everyone. Not too spicy and hot but the subtle flavors of methi and curry leaves makes this dish taste delicious & flavorful.

We don’t like our everyday dal with tons of hot spices and that’s how this Methi dal is made. It’s a lovely change from all those spicy & greasy Indian dishes. It is toddler/ kids friendly too.

If you want you may increase the spice levels or even use garam masala if you want.

If you love experimenting your foods with new flavors you can also make this in Andhra Style. It is known as Menthi Kura Pappu & uses tamarind to impart tang and this actually cuts down the bitter flavor of the methi leaves.

At home we don’t appreciate the tamarind flavors much so I use a generous amount of lemon juice while serving. A lot of times I also use the unripe green mango or dried mango (dehydrated unripe mango pieces) to impart the tangy flavors. It somewhat tastes like methi in Mango Pappu.

methi leaves for methi dal

For more Dal recipes,
Dal fry
Dal palak
Moong dal recipe
Chana dal recipe
Tomato pappu
Gongura pappu

How to Make Methi Dal (Stepwise Photos)


1. For this recipe you can use only toor dal (split pigeon peas) or a combination of toor dal and mung dal. I prefer to use half cup toor dal and 2 tablespoons of moong dal for flavor. If you don’t like you may leave out the moong dal.

lentils to make methi dal

2. Add them to a pot or pressure cooker. Rinse well and pour 1.5 cups water. Add ⅛ teaspoon turmeric as well.

rinsed lentils

3. Add 1 to 2 green chilies and ¾ cup chopped tomato (I also prefer to deseed them). If you have young kids you may leave out the green chilies. Pressure cook for 2 whistles on a medium flame. If using a Instant pot, pressure cook for 10 mins at high pressure.

To cook without pressure cooker, bring the water to a rolling boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the lentils are soft and tender. If required pour more boiling water as you cook. Add the tomatoes and green chilies and let cook until they break down and turn mushy.

tomato and dal in IP

4. While the dal cooks, pluck and clean the methi leaves. I use 2 cups leaves here. You may chop them. I forgot to do that here.

fresh fenugreek leaves


5. Get the ingredients ready for tempering. You will need:

  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds / jeera
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 dried red chili broken (optional)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 pinch hing (asafoetida, optional)
spices for fenugreek dal

6. Heat 1½ tablespoon Ghee or oil in a pan. Add mustard, cumin seeds & red chilies. When they begin to splutter, add curry leaves and hing. I don’t use red chili powder so I add extra green chilies here.

tadka for methi dal

7. Add hing and then methi leaves.

methi leaves in a pan

8. Saute methi leaves until they completely wilt. Add ¼ teaspoon red chili powder if you want. I don’t use. Turn off the heat.

sauteed methi leaves

9. Your dal should be soft cooked and mushy.

pressure cooked dal

9. Mash the tomatoes gently.

mashed tomato dal

10. Add the methi tempering and salt.

methi tempering in soft cooked dal

11. Mix well and simmer for 2 to 3 mins. Taste test and add more salt. If you want add ¼ teaspoon garam masala at this stage. To make it more hot, simply mash the green chilies in your methi dal. Cool down a bit and add lemon juice.

methi dal in instant pot

Serve methi dal hot with rice, chapati or parathas.

methi dal menthi kura pappu

Pro Tips

  • There is a huge difference between the Methi dal made with & without red chili powder. We are partial here and love the dal made without red chili powder. I use enough green chilies to provide the heat. But if you can’t eat green chilies due to diet reasons, simply use red chili powder.
  • You can add a small chopped onion along with tomatoes. It adds sweet tones and reduces the bitterness in methi leaves.
  • 4 cups methi leaves is the standard I use for every cup of dal. You can use more but make sure you cook the leaves well or even pressure cook. While consuming large amounts of methi leaves it is ideal to pressure cook them or cook for longer time for easier digestion else it can cause acidity.

Related Recipes

Methi Dal Recipe first published in May 2015. Updated & Republished in June 2023.

Recipe Card

methi dal menthi kura pappu

Methi Dal Recipe (Menthi Kura Pappu)

A delicious protein packed dish made with lentils, fenugreek leaves, spices and herbs. Serve it with rice or roti. Instant pot & stove top instructions included.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time32 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • ½ cup dal (skinned split pigeon peas /toor dal)
  • 2 tablespoons moong dal (optional)
  • cups water
  • 2 cups methi leaves (fenugreek leaves) roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup tomato (deseeded & chopped)
  • 1 to 2 green chili (adjust to taste, leave out for kids)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 lemon or a small piece of unripe mango or tamarind or amchur powder

To Temper

  • tablespoon Ghee or oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds / jeera
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 pinch hing (asafoetida, optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 dried red chili broken (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder (leave out for low heat, adjust to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala (optional, read notes)


Stovetop methi dal

  • Add dal to a pot or pressure cooker. Rinse it very well.
  • Pressure Cooker Method: Add water, turmeric, tomatoes 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.
  • Without Pressure Cooker: Pour water and bring it to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and cook on a medium heat until the lentils are almost tender, adding more hot water if required. Add tomatoes, turmeric and chilli. Cook until the tomatoes break down & the lentils are soft.
  • 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. Turn off and add the red chili powder and garam masala (optional).
  • Add salt & the tempered methi leaves to the dal. If the methi dal is too thick pour some hot water and simmer for 2 to 3 mins. Taste test and adjust salt and garam masala. If you want it more hot, you can mash the green chilies in the dal.
  • Let the dal cool down slightly and squeeze the lemon juice. Serve methi dal with rice, phulka or mudde.

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, red chili powder and salt. If you have small kids, leave out the red chili powder or reduce the quantity.
  • 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 you want you may add garam masala.
  • If the dal is too thick stir in some hot water. Taste test and add more salt if required. Squeeze some lemon juice.
  • Serve methi dal with rice or roti.


  • The flavor of dal is completely different with the use of red chili powder and garam masala. I don’t prefer to use both and just use only the green chilies for heat. 

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)

Nutrition Facts
Methi Dal Recipe (Menthi Kura Pappu)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 480 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 29mg10%
Sodium 679mg30%
Potassium 827mg24%
Carbohydrates 62g21%
Fiber 25g104%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 644IU13%
Vitamin C 63mg76%
Calcium 1017mg102%
Iron 10mg56%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Methi Dal Recipe (Menthi Kura Pappu)

About Swasthi

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. More about me

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Recipe Rating

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5 stars
Love the idea of lemon juice in methi dal. I doubled the methi and tomatoes because I had to use up both. Turned out delicious.

5 stars
Made this for my Indian husband and he loves it

5 stars
Thank you for the recipe taste lovely

I’d love to make this but can’t buy fresh fenugreek leaves. Can I use dried and if so, how much? Thank you.

5 stars
Great dal. Forgiving recipe. We can adjust with whatever we have/don’t have. I can eat dal every day, so I need lots of varieties. This is a great one.

5 stars
ధన్యవాదాలు నాకిష్టమైన మెంతిపప్పు

Love your recipes! Can I use frozen fenugreek leaves/methi leaves, if I’m unable to find fresh ones? If yes, will it be the same amount? Thanks.

5 stars
I tried it today… And it’s ?????

5 stars
I am a big fan of your cooking and I blindly go to your recipe whenever I want to make anything.
Appreciate all the effort you put in, being the pics,video and the details you provide for each recipe.

I am getting acidity for this methi dal fry..I am using deseeded chillies, still it’s hard for me to digest.I am in my early 30’s.Did you experience the same or is there anything that we can avoid?

Thank you Swasthi..We love this recipe as we get fresh methi leaves every week.Even my 4 yr old kid had acidity when I tempered spices in ghee..Now i am using butter after switching off the stove n tempering spices in oil separately..I will try with lemon n see as you suggested.Thank you very much!

5 stars
Yes Swasthi..Cooking the methi leaves in pressure cooker did not cause any problem to me.Thank you very much!

What is the pan you are using in pics? Is it from TFal? I am bit health conscious,using only stainless steel and iron pans.But I want to use nonstick for few recipes and sweets.i tried ceramic pans as well..those too have cons.

Very flavourful dal.. Enjoyed it thouroughly

Hi Swathi,
I am in the US and only have access to dried kasuri methi/fenugreek leaves. It looks like this recipe uses fresh. Will this work with dried, and would I use the same amount? Thank you!

5 stars
I frequently checks you website when ever i have a question in cooking.
Thanks and regards

Hi Swathi. Your recipes are really tasty.. I enjoy cooking your recipes.. Kindly upload new and different variety dishes…
Thank you

Hii, today I’m going to try one more recipe from ur garden of recipes and I know as always it will turn out delicious

5 stars
I really love ur recipes they r simple and tasty thank u

5 stars
Really yummy and healthy and very easy receipe . I want a Guttu Vankaya receipe.

5 stars
Hi Sis
How are you all
Thank for the wonderful recipe and clear explanation
You told tamarind is acidic so want to try with amchur powder
Please tell me When to add it

? you are super perfect
With my baby I’m skipping 1 or the other line. I need to read twice or thrice before I come to u ?

Can v use dried methi leaves?

Very tasty and healthy dish.

5 stars
So true about how, no matter if we follow another’s recipe to the ‘t’,
the food we cook always tastes like our cooking!

This is a great recipe. SOOOOO delicious.
Thank you so much for sharing it! Simple and fresh tasting.

Looks good. Hope its delicious although never tasted it before. Anyway,
thanks for the post and good luck.