Methi Ki Daal or Sweet n Sour Lentils with Fenugreek

Methi Ki Daal or Sweet n Sour Lentils with Fenugreek

Methi Ki Dal holds a special place in my heart and unfailingly makes me reminisce of the tasty food my Grand-mother .. “MAA” as we call her, cooked for us. When I reflect I’m always in awe of her uncanny culinary skills particularly at a time when knowledge was quite inaccessible and definitely a fry cry from the present internet age. She created this flavorsome Dal using Fenugreek or Methi as commonly known…with a beautiful twist. The sweet and sour flavors veil the bitterness of the Methi in truly an understated style transforming this Dal into every child’s delight.

In addition, the subtle sweetness of Tuvar Dal (Pigeon Pea Lentils) also aids in balancing the bitterness of Methi… and indeed a great way to add greens to your everyday diet.

The word “Fenugreek” is seemingly derived from the Latin language and literally means “Greek hay” and comes bundled with an abundance of health, skin and hair benefits. Known to treat diabetes, constipation, kidney ailments and most importantly lower LDL and triglycerides while pulling up HDL or good cholesterol as many understand. Arising from the fact that this recipe has worked it’s magic upon me and even my children. I’m sure your experience will be similar or still better!!!


Course Main
Servings 6 persons
Prep time 10 min.
Cook time 20-25 min.

Ingredients for the Dal
(1 cup = 200 ml, 1 tbsp = 15 ml)

1 cup Tuvar Dal (Arhar or pigeon pea lentil)
2½ cups Water
4 tbsp Ghee
1½ cups Fenugreek (fresh methi) leaves finely chopped
½ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Cumin seeds
½ tsp Hing or asafoetida powder
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
3-4 tbsp Jaggery powder
½ cup Tamarind pulp
1 tbsp Coriander leaves finely chopped
½ inch piece Ginger, Julienned
3- 4 nos. Green chillies, slit into 2 leaves
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime (optional)
2-3 nos. Dried red chilli
1 tbsp Sugar (optional)

Instructions for the Dal

1. Wash the dal and rinse it thoroughly in running water 3-4 times.
2. Add the rinsed dal in a cooker along with water, turmeric powder and salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes on a medium flame.
3. When the lentils are cooked completely mash the dal very well with a wooden whisk or spoon.
4. Heat 3 tbsp ghee in a pan. Sauté the jeera (cumin seeds) and asafoetida for 1 minute. Add the red chilli, green chillies and ginger and sauté well.
5. Add in the finely chopped fenugreek leaves. Stir for 1 – 2 minutes until it gets cooked. Do not
let it brown.
6. Add in the coriander powder and season with salt. Now add the mashed dal to the fenugreek
7. If it is too thick add ½ cup of water. However, this dal should not be too thick nor too thin.
8. Add in the tamarind pulp and jaggery. Let the dal boil well for 5 – 10 minutes. Check the taste. It should be sweet and tangy. (I usually like mine sour so I add the lemon juice and sugar as well) (Alternatively, I put in prepared sweet and spicy tamarind chutney and avoid the pulp)
9. Take 1 tbsp ghee in a pan. Heat it well and add the red chilli powder. Add this tempering to the dal. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves. Serve it warm with rice or rotis


1. Please prepare the fenugreek tempering just before serving as the leaves tend to loose their green colour.
2. You could use onion and garlic too for tempering if you choose to do so.
3. Please feel free to adjust the quantities of the sweet and sour ingredients as per your liking.


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