Methi Dal: A Prince Among Dals

Well, if you know I love dals, you know me well.  And if you know me that well, then you most likely also know that I love to improvise with dals.  Yesterday, I made a Methi Dal, which is no ordinary dal because it has methi (fenugreek) in it.  Methi is an interesting green leafy vegetable that demands that you treat it just right or else it will go bitter on you.  So, you must use it in the right amounts and with other foods that will complement its flavor.

So, I made a Methi Dal which is fit for a prince, nay, a king!  Because not only does it have the key ingredient, methi, it has a number of other delectable veggies:  half a green mango, diced red tomatoes, one large red onion, and a cup of baby carrots.  A little turmeric, and a few green chillies, and you’re ready to pressure-cook the lot.  The lentil of choice, by the way, is the ubiquitous yellow Toor dal.  After pressure-cooking, you use a hand-blender to puree this goodness.  Add a dash of lemon juice and salt to taste, and it is good as is, but no, I have to make it impossibly good, of course.

And the way I do that, is by giving it one phenomenal tadka:  a tempered seasoning in desi ghee with hing (asefotida), mustard, cumin, garlic, dry red chillies, and kari patta (fresh curry leaves).  When the aromas have reached their height, toss it into the dal, bring to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes, then turn off the fire, cover lid and let it rest for another couple of minutes before you serve it with hot white basmati and rotis.  Keep the desi ghee bottle at hand, because you must put in a small dollop into the steaming hot rice and dal.

I had two kinds of papads on the side– which were both phenomenal.  But the Methi Dal stole the show!

The pictures in this album were taken at the various stages of cooking the dal.  I hope that it will tell a picture story that is even better than following a written recipe.  The unanimous reaction at my dinner table was:  Yeh Hui Na Baat!


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