Daal Methya is the next in our #30daysofdaal series. If you haven’t checked out any of our other daal recipes yet, you are missing something.
Daal is a general Hindi word for lentils or pulses as we call them. Many different types of lentils are available in India, and every region has a wide variety of recipes or ways to cook them. Toor or Tuvar daal, made from split pigeon peas is the most widely used daal in India.
Daal Methya is a super simple recipe with just a slight seasoning. The crowning glory here comes from the chili oil that is poured on top while serving it. Methi or fenugreek seeds are the main flavoring agent here. We are using the dry seeds and not the fresh green leafy vegetable.
Methi or fenugreek has several medicinal properties in Ayurveda. It is highly bitter in taste and is supposed to help in sugar control and also strengthens the spine. Methi also induces body heat so it is common to see it as part of a vegetarian meal in Indian winters.
One of the things I want to showcase as part of #30daysofdaal is how simple Indian food can be. Daal Methya (Methya refers to many methi seeds and is just a plural form) may not be as popular as the Methi Daal which uses fresh methi leaves. But it has always been common in our kitchen.
The recipe here is pretty simple. Toor daal is cooked along with turmeric and dry methi seeds in a pressure cooker. The daal is then seasoned with salt, some sugar or jaggery and a pinch of pepper and spices. Then it is seasoned with a tadka of chopped garlic.
There is a specific way to serve this dish. Instead of pouring all the tempered oil on top as we do in Daal Tadka, the oil is served at the side. Every person spoons over as much as they want on their individual servings.
You can absolutely control how hot the oil is based on the amount of cayenne pepper or mirchi powder you add. The chopped garlic flavors the whole oil and you can keep using this as a condiment even after the Daal itself has been consumed.
My mother’s family comes from a small coastal village where vegetables were hard to come by. Most weeknight dinners were made from pantry ingredients, and the daal methya was a big part of them.
We generally serve this dish with bhakri which is a thick roti made from jowar or bajra flour. The bhakri itself is a rustic unleavened flatbread which is quintessentially Maharashtrian. It is the food of the people, the stuff that is a big part of the rural diet. I think that could be because Maharashtra is not big on wheat production. In a farm based economy, people tend to eat what they grow.
Jhunka-Bhakar is already popular as a Maharashtrian delicacy, and I believe daal methya stands right next to the jhunka.
Please note – fenugreek seeds are bitter so they may be an acquired taste. You can try using a smaller quantity first until you get used to the flavor.
Daal Methya – Fenugreek Flavored Daal with Chili Oil Recipe
- 1 cup toor daal
- 3 cups water
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 Tbsp methi or fenugreek seeds
- 2 Tbsp jaggery or brown sugar
- ½ tsp goda masala
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp garlic chopped
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp hing or Asafoetida
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper or more
- Pressure cook the toor daal along with water, turmeric and methi seeds.
- Transfer daal to a stock pot and season with salt, sugar and goda masala.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a wok.
- Add mustard seeds and let them pop.
- Add the chopped garlic and let it turn light brown.
- Switch off heat and take wok off the heat.
- Now add the hing and the cayenne pepper.
- For serving – let people ladle individual portions of daal and serve the chili oil on the side. People can spoon over as much oil as they want for themselves.
- If you can’t find goda masala, substitute with a combination of coriander – cumin powder or leave it out. Do not use garam masala in this dish.
I hope you try this simple Daal based dish. Daal Methya brings you the simple cuisine of the western Indian state of Maharashtra.