Menthyada Soppina Bele Palya | Fenugreek Leaves and Lentil Dry Curry
Broadly speaking, fenugreek is said to be beneficial in relieving constipation, dyspepsia, gastritis; reducing cholesterol, mouth ulcers, bronchitis, chronic cough, baldness, erectile dysfunction; also for improving lactation in nursing mothers; it is believed to slow down absorption of sugars in the stomach, and also stimulate insulin, hence beneficial in diabetes.
In India, fenugreek leaves are used as a vegetable as I have mentioned earlier. Fenugreek seeds too are used frequently with tempering, as also in curry powders to provide flavor; cooked and or/ sprouted seeds are used in preparing certain dishes as ‘gojju’; while one spice powder I have loved and eaten with rice since my childhood is ‘menthyada hittu’. I will share these recipes at a later date.
Now, this recipe – ‘Menthyada Soppina Bele Palya’ | Fenugreek Leaves and Lentil Dry curry is another dish which brings forth fond childhood memories.
Pigeon peas (tuvar dal) is used in the preparation this dish. The split peas are soaked for a couple of hours, then ground into a coarse paste along with dry red chilies. This is then added to the tempering, with fenugreek leaves, cooked and seasoned; served with steaming hot rice or as an accompaniment to a meal.
split pigeon peas – 1 cup
water – 3 cups
turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
dry red chilies – 4-5 (use mild red chilies for milder heat; i used a combination of both)
asafoetida powder – 1/2 tsp (hing) (avoid asafoetida if on a gluten-free diet)
salt to taste
methi or fenugreek leaves from one small to medium sized bunch; picked and washed with running water
oil – 2-3 tsp; the original recipe calls for 2 tbsp of oil. I have used less oil and used water instead in aiding the split peas to cook.
mustard seeds – 1 tsp
split de-husked black gram – 1 tsp (urad dal)
cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
dry red chili – 1 halved
- split pigeon peas - 1 cup
- water - 3 cups
- turmeric powder - ½ tsp
- dry red chilies - 4-5 (use mild red chilies for milder heat; I used a combination of both)
- asafoetida powder - ½ tsp (hing) (avoid asafoetida if on a gluten-free diet)
- salt to taste
- methi or fenugreek leaves from one small to medium sized bunch; picked and washed with running water
- for tempering:
- oil - 2-3 tsp; the original recipe calls for 2 tbsp of oil. I have used less oil and used water instead in aiding the split peas to cook.
- mustard seeds - 1 tsp
- split yellow peas - 1 tsp (chana dal or Bengal gram)
- split de-husked black gram - 1 tsp (urad dal)
- cumin seeds - ½ tsp
- dry red chili - 1 halved
- wash and rinse split pigeon peas, soak adding the dry red chilies and 3 cups of water, for about 2 hrs.
- grind the soaked peas and dry red chilies adding ½ tsp of asafoetida powder, to a thick smooth paste, using a mixer/grinder.
- in a deep, thick-bottomed pan, heat 2 tsp of oil. splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds, add chana dal, urad dal, dry red chili,.
- once the dals turn slightly golden, add the fenugreek leaves, saute until tender.
- now add the turmeric powder, mix. add the ground paste.
- now mix very well. at this point, you will notice that as the ground split peas cook, the consistency thickens too. keep mixing it adding small amounts of water as and when it begins to stick to the pan. Note here that since we are using less oil, the mixture tends to stick to the pan. This is the reason why we need to continuously keep stirring, scraping from the base of the pan and adding water as needed. Cook at medium to low-medium heat.
- during this process, you will notice that the ground paste whilst getting cooked, also develops some caramelisation. this adds to the flavor of the dish. but do not allow it to burn. continue this until the dal gets cooked. You will need a bit of 'muscle power' to cook this dish!
- add salt, give it a final mix. it tends to come together like a ball. before serving, crumble this up using a fork or the ladle.
- serve with steaming hot rice or as an accompaniment to a meal.
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