Menthi Koora Pappu refers to lentils cooked with fenugreek leaves, the Andhra Pradesh way. This is a simple dish, with minimal use of spice powders, but one that manages to be absolutely delicious. The real flavours of the lentils and fenugreek shine through, just the way they are supposed to. With some hot rice and a drizzle of ghee, this Methi Koora Pappu or Andhra-style Methi Dal makes for a blissful meal.
Today, I will be sharing with you all the recipe for Menthi Koora Pappu, the way we make it at home. Winter is here, and we get some gorgeous in-season methi now – just perfect to try out this recipe. 🙂
What goes into Menthi Koora Pappu
I learnt basic Andhra-style cooking from neighbours of mine, years ago. Apart from Tomato Pappu and Mamidikaya Pappu, I gathered the recipe for Menthi Koora Pappu from these neighbours too. I continue to make it the same way, all these years later.
Fenugreek greens or methi leaves are the major ingredient in this recipe, cooked with toor dal. Onion and tomato are also added in, to balance out the bitterness of the methi. There are no masalas used here, other than the usual salt, red chilli powder and turmeric, with a little jaggery to make the dish more flavourful. Crushed garlic is added to the tempering, which makes the dal extremely delicious.
Speaking of recipes from Andhra Pradesh, this Pachi Pulusu or no-cook rasam from Sasmita’s blog First Timer Cook has been on my must-try list for quite some time now. It sounds super interesting and delicious!
Menthi Koora Pappu recipe
Here is how to go about it.
Ingredients (serves 4):
1. 1 cup toor dal
2. A small gooseberry-sized piece of tamarind
3. A small bunch of fenugreek (methi) greens, about 1 cup when finely chopped
4. 1 medium-sized onion
5. 1 large tomato
6. 5-6 cloves of garlic
7. 3/4 tablespoon+ 1 tablespoon oil
8. Salt to taste
9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
10. Red chilli powder to taste
11. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
12. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
13. 2 pinches of asafoetida
14. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
15. 2 dry red chillies
1. Soak the tamarind in some boiling water for about 15 minutes, for it to soften. Let it cool down enough to handle.
2. Wash the toor dal thoroughly. Drain out all the water from it, then transfer to a wide vessel. Add in enough fresh water to cover the toor dal completely. Place the vessel in the pressure cooker. Allow 7-8 whistles on high flame or till the dal is completely cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.
3. Peel the garlic cloves. Crush them roughly, using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.
4. Wash the methi greens well, to remove all traces of mud from them. Chop them finely. Peel the onion and chop finely. Chop the tomato finely too. Keep aside.
5. When the soaked tamarind has cooled down, extract all the juice from it. Add in a little more water to help with the extraction, if required. Keep aside.
6. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down completely, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash it well. Keep ready.
7. Now, we will start preparing the Methi Koora Pappu. Heat 3/4 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add in the finely chopped onion. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the onion begins to brown.
8. At this stage, add in the chopped methi greens. Saute on medium flame for about 3 minutes or till the greens are cooked through. Stir intermittently. If needed, sprinkle some water.
9. Add in the chopped tomatoes at this stage, along with some salt and a little water. Cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the tomatoes turn mushy.
10. Continuing to keep the flame medium, add red chilli powder and turmeric powder.
11. Also add in the cooked toor dal, followed by 3/4 cup of water or as needed to adjust consistency. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt.
12. Almost immediately, add in the tamarind extract and jaggery powder. Mix. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind has completely gone away and the mixture thickens up. Switch off gas when the mixture has thickened but is still a bit runny – it will thicken up further with time.
13. Lastly, we will prepare the tempering for the Menthi Koora Pappu. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a tempering pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Now, add in the cumin seeds, asafoetida, dry red chillies and crushed garlic. Turn the flame down to medium. Let the ingredients stay in the hot oil for a minute or so, so that the garlic is cooked. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Add the tempering to the lentil mixture and mix well. Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes, then your Menthi Koora Pappu is ready to serve. Serve it with hot rice, along with some ghee.
Tips & Tricks
1. You can use moong dal or a mixture of moong dal and toor dal to prepare this dish. I prefer using toor dal alone.
2. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder, jaggery powder and tamarind as per personal taste preferences.
3. Make sure the lentils are thoroughly cooked, before using them in the dish.
4. Make sure the garlic cloves in the tempering are completely cooked. If they stay raw, it might affect the taste of the Menthi Koora Pappu adversely.
5. Don’t forget to keep the Menthi Koora Pappu covered for some time after adding in the tempering. This will help infuse the flavours of the tempering into the dal.
6. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the dal you require. Ideally, Menthi Koora Pappu should be thick, but not overly so, definitely not watery.
7. You may add some curry leaves, green chillies and/or fresh coriander to the dal. I usually do not.
8. Remember to switch off gas when the Menthi Koora Pappu is still slightly runny. It will thicken up more as it cools.
9. You can use ghee to prepare the tempering, instead of the oil I have used here.
10. Skip the onion and garlic, if you do not prefer using them.
11. Skip the jaggery if you don’t prefer using it, but it is highly recommended to add it in. The jaggery does not make the pappu too sweet, but helps in balancing out the other flavours beautifully.
12. This is a completely vegetarian recipe, one that is vegan (plant-based) as well. If you want to make it gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, and should be avoided when following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely go ahead and use it.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!