Friday, December 2, 2011

Methi (Fenugreek) Dhal

Pulses and legumes are a natural source of plant protein that are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, and extremely low in fat. They are used extensively in Indian cooking and form an important part of a vegetarian diet. Dried legumes and pulses are classified into three groups: beans, peas and lentils. They are eaten either whole or unhulled (with the skin still intact) or split in half with or without their skins.
Toor dhal also known as arhar dhal or split pigeon peas is one such pulse that is a pantry staple in most Indian kitchens. It is commonly used as the base for many of our South Indian preparations, the most common one in my home being Sambar.
My pantry is well stocked with a variety of dhals but toor dhal is the most-used one for sure. Dhal is cooked in different ways in different homes and no two dhal preparations from different kitchens or even the same kitchen for that matter, taste the same.
Here’s a very simple and tasty dhal from my kitchen made using toor dhal and fenugreek (methi) leaves. There are a number of versions of methi dhal in the blogosphere. And now here’s mine!

You need:
toor dal - 1 cup cooked
fenugreek/methi - 1 bunch, or 2 cubes frozen
red onion, chopped - 1/2
tomato, cubed - 1
ginger paste - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
chilli powder - 1/2 tsp

For the seasoning:
oil - 1 T
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
urad dal - 1/2 tsp
A pinch of asafoetida/hing
Salt to taste

Rinse the toor dal a couple of times and then cook it in about 3 cups of water after adding turmeric powder.
In a pan, heat the oil. Add all the ingredients for the seasoning.
To this add the chopped onions, saute for 2 minutes. Then add the ginger paste & mix well.
Add the cubed tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes or so.
Wash the Methi leaves in the cold running water for sometime. Then chop them.
Add the chopped methi leaves to the pan, and cook for about 10 mins. Add 1/2 tsp of chilli powder to this and mix well.
When the dal is cooked, add it to the pan & bring the contents to a boil.
(At this point you could add water to thin out the dal if you so desire.) Simmer on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

Serve hot with rice, pickle & pappad or it tastes great with rotis too!


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