Ponk Khichdi| Tender Jowar Khichdi

Ponk or hurda, a winter delicacy

Tender green jowar is a winter speciality in parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Called ‘ponk‘ in Gujarati and ‘hurda‘ in Marathi, the jewel-like immature grains of pearl millet are full of health benefits. The best way to eat them is raw or lightly sauteed, drizzled with some salt, lemon juice and sev – and they do taste absolutely fabulous when fresh and tender. That’s the mainstay of the ‘ponk parties’ that are often held in the fields of Gujarat and Maharashtra, this time of the year.

Tender jowar aka ponk or hurda, a winter speciality

Ponk Bhel and Ponk Vada are a couple of things the grains commonly find their way into in Gujarati households. I have had the pleasure of indulging in these delicacies on visits to Ahmedabad and whenever friends or family members managed to lug back parcels of ponk to Bangalore for me. Recently, though, I was thrilled to see it available at Native’s Basket, a store in HSR Layout, Bangalore, and had to go ahead and order some. This time around, I experimented with making some Ponk Khichdi, which turned out just awesome. The tender jowar was a treat to the tastebuds, and it took the simple khichdi to a whole new level.

Let me share with you all the way I prepared this delicious and nutritious Ponk Khichdi.

Delicious Ponk Khichdi!

How to make Ponk Khichdi

Here is how I went about it.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1. 1/2 cup rice

2. 3/4 cup toor dal

3. 1-1/2 cup ponk

4. 1 medium-sized onion

5. A 1-inch piece of ginger

6. 1 large tomato

7. 3/4 tablespoon oil

8. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

9. 2 pinches of asafoetida

10. Salt to taste

11. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

12. Red chilli powder to taste

13. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala or as per taste

14. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder

15. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

16. 2 tablespoons ghee

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Below top right: Step 4, Bottom left, centre and right: The cooked ponk, rice and toor dal

1. Wash the rice thoroughly. Drain out all the water. Transfer the washed and drained rice to a wide vessel and add in 1-1/2 cup of fresh water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. Keep the cooked rice aside.

2. Wash the toor dal well, and drain out all the water. Transfer the washed and drained toor dal to a wide vessel. Add in enough fresh water to cover the toor dal completely. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 6-7 whistles or till the dal is well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally. Mash the cooked toor dal well and keep aside.

3. Wash the ponk well, and drain out all the water from it. Transfer the washed and drained ponk to a wide vessel. Add in about 2 tablespoons of water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. Keep the cooked ponk aside. Do not drain out the water it was cooked in.

4. Peel the ginger and onion and chop finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Chop the tomato finely. Keep ready.

Top left and centre: Steps 5 and 6, Top right and bottom left: Step 7, Bottom centre and right: Steps 8 and 9

5. Now, we will start preparing the Ponk Khichdi. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida, and let them stay in for a few seconds.

6. Add in the finely chopped onion and ginger. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the onion is cooked and starts browning.

7. Add in the tomato now, along with a little salt and water. Cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the tomato turns mushy.

8. At this stage, add in the cooked ponk and the water it was cooked in. Also add in the cooked and mashed toor dal. Continue to keep the flame at medium.

9. Add in salt to taste. Mix well.

Top left and right: Steps 10 and 11, Below top right: Step 12, Bottom right: Step 13, Bottom left: Step 14

10. Add red chilli powder to taste and turmeric powder.

11. Add in the garam masala and jaggery powder.

12. Add in the cooked rice and about 3/4 cup of water to adjust the consistency of the mixture. Mix well.

13. Let everything cook together on medium flame for 4-5 minutes. By this time, the mixture will start thickening. Switch off gas when the mixture has thickened but is still on the runnier side – it will thicken up further upon cooling.

14. Mix in the finely chopped coriander and ghee. Your Ponk Khichdi is ready. Serve hot with raita, curd or pickle.

Tips & Tricks

1. Make sure the toor dal is well cooked before adding it to the pan.

2. You can also stir-fry the ponk instead of pressure-cooking it. I prefer the latter.

3. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the khichdi you require.

4. You may even add some vegetables to the khichdi – carrots, beans, green peas and the like. I decided to keep it simple, so did not add any.

5. Adjust the quantity of garam masala as per personal taste preferences. I have used home-made garam masala here.

6. Remember to stop cooking the khichdi when it is still runny. It thickens up further upon cooling.

7. You may make this khichdi without the rice. Personally, though, I think the rice gives some body and texture to the khichdi.

8. This is a completely vegetarian recipe, but not vegan (plant-based) because of the use of ghee. If you want to make this dish vegan, skip the ghee.

9. If you plan to make a gluten-free version of the khichdi, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, and are therefore best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely use it.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Vegetable Khichdi| Mixed Vegetable Toor Dal Khichdi

Vegetable Khichdi is a very flavourful rice dish, one that is supremely comforting and satisfying. It is just the perfect thing for the chilly winter days we are having right now. It is not very difficult to put together, and makes for an excellent choice for lunch or dinner.

In today’s post, I am going to share with you all the way I make Vegetable Khichdi at home.

Vegetable Khichdi or Mixed Vegetable Toor Dal Khichdi

What goes into my Vegetable Khichdi or Mixed Vegetable Toor Dal Khichdi

Rice, toor dal and vegetables are the major components of this khichdi. I prefer using Sona Masoori or Basmati rice in this dish, but other varieties can be used too. I use vegetables like tomato, onion, beans, carrot, capsicum and green peas.

A mix of garam masala and chana masala add flavour to this khichdi, as does the jaggery, lemon juice and kasoori methi I add to it. I use home-made garam masala and chana masala.

The khichdi is tempered at the very end, with crushed garlic added to the regular suspects like mustard, cumin and asafoetida. The fried garlic takes the flavour (and fragrance) quotient of the khichdi high, high up!

Other khichdi recipes on the blog

I absolutely love such delicious khichdi, and have several recipes on my blog already. You guys should check out this Moong Dal Khichdi With Kale, this Gujarati Vaghareli Khichdi, and this Broccoli & Baby Corn Khichdi. If you have any khichdi left over, you must definitely try out this delicious Buttermilk Khichdi!

On that note, my fellow food blogger Sujata Ji’s Bengali Sabur Khichdi sounds super interesting – can’t wait to try it out!

How to make Vegetable Khichdi or Mixed Vegetable Toor Dal Khichdi

Here’s how I make the khichdi.

Do not get intimidated by the seemingly long list of ingredients or the lengthy proceedure. The steps are fairly easy to follow, I assure you.

Ingredients (serves 4):

1. 3/4 cup rice

2. 1/4 cup toor dal

3. 1 medium-sized onion

4. 2 green chillies

5. A 1-inch piece of ginger

6. 7-8 beans

7. 1 medium-sized carrot

8. A big handful of green peas

9. 1 small capsicum

10. 1 medium-sized tomato

11. 5-6 cloves of garlic

12. 1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil

13. Salt to taste

14. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

15. Red chilli powder to taste

16. 1/4 teaspoon garam masala

17. 1/2 teaspoon chana masala

18. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder

19. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

20. 3/4 tablespoon kasoori methi

21. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

22. 1 tablespoon ghee

23. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

24. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

25. 2 pinches of asafoetida

26. 2 dry red chillies

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left, centre and right: Steps 4, 5 and 6

1. Wash the rice thoroughly under running water. Drain out all the water. Take the washed and drained rice in a wide vessel and add in 2-1/2 cups of water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Allow 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. Similarly, wash the toor dal thoroughly. Drain out the water and place in a wide vessel. Add in just enough water to cover the toor dal fully. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Allow 6-7 whistles on high flame for the toor dal to cook well. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Peel the onion and chop finely. Peel the ginger and chop finely too. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.

4. Next, prep the vegetables that will go into the khichdi. Peel the carrot and chop into small cubes. Remove strings from the beans and chop finely. Get the green peas ready. Remove the core and seeds from the capsicum, and chop finely. Take the carrot, beans, green peas and capsicum in a wide vessel. Add in about 2 tablespoons of water and place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Allow 2 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

5. Chop the tomato finely. Keep aside.

6. Peel the garlic cloves. Crush them roughly, using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

Top left and centre: Step 7, Top right: Step 8, Bottom left and centre: Step 9, Bottom right: Step 10

7. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked rice, toor dal and vegetables out. Mash the cooked toor dal roughly and keep aside.

8. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chopped onion. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the onion starts browning.

9. At this stage, add the chopped tomato to the pan, along with the finely chopped ginger, slit green chillies, a bit of salt and a little water. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the tomatoes turn mushy.

10. Add in the cooked vegetables, along with the water they were cooked in. Continue to keep the flame at medium.

Top left and right: Step 11, Below top right: Step 12, Bottom right: Step 13, Bottom left: Step 14

11. Almost immediately, add in the cooked toor dal and rice, along with about 3/4 cup of water to adjust the consistency of the khichdi. Mix well.

12. Add in salt and red chilli powder to taste, as well as the turmeric powder.

13. Add in the garam masala, chana masala and jaggery powder. Mix well.

14. Cook everything on medium flame for about 5 minutes. Stir intermittently. If the mixture gets too thick, you can add in a little more water. Switch off gas when the mixture has thickened up, but is still on the runnier side – remember that it will thicken up more on cooling.

Top left and right: Steps 15 and 16, Bottom left and right: Steps 17 and 18

15. Add in the lemon juice.

16. Crush the kasoori methi roughly between the palms of your hands. Add this to the pan.

17. Add in the finely chopped coriander. Mix well.

18. Lastly, prepare the tempering for the khichdi. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and the ghee together in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Now, add in the asafoetida, cumin seeds, dry red chillies and the crushed garlic. Turn the flame down to low-medium. Let the garlic cook and brown, a few seconds. Take care not to let the ingredients burn. When the garlic is cooked, switch off gas and add this tempering to the khichdi in the other pan. Mix well. Your Vegetable Khichdi is ready. Keep the pan covered for 7-10 minutes, then it is ready to serve. Serve it hot with raita of your choice.

Tips & Tricks

1. Vegetables like carrot, green peas, beans and capsicum go best in this khichdi. I prefer sticking to these vegetables only. You can increase the quantity of vegetables too, if you so prefer.

2. Make sure the toor dal is well cooked and soft, before using it in making the Vegetable Khichdi.

3. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Vegetable Khichdi you require.

4. Amchoor powder can be used in place of the lemon juice.

5. I have used Sona Masoori rice here. Basmati rice goes well in this khichdi too.

6. Adjust the amount of chana masala and garam masala as per personal taste preferences.

7. Do not skip the jaggery. It does not make the Vegetable Khichdi overly sweet, but balances the other flavours beautifully.

8. You may skip the onion and garlic if you do not prefer using them. Personally, though, I would highly recommend using the garlic. The fried garlic in the tempering elevates the taste of the Vegetable Khichdi to a whole new level.

9. Make sure the ingredients in the tempering do not burn. At the same time, it is important that the garlic is well cooked and browned – if it stays raw, it will adversely impact the taste of the khichdi.

10. Stop cooking the Vegetable Khichdi when it is still runny. It thickens up quite a bit with time.

11. I have used a mix of oil and ghee in the tempering, here. You may use only oil or ghee instead.

12. I cook the rice, vegetables and toor dal separately because each of these have different cooking times. I’m not happy with the taste and texture of pressure-cooker khichdi where everything is cooked together.

13. The above recipe is completely vegetarian, but not vegan (plant-based) due to the use of ghee. If you plan to prepare a vegan version, skip the ghee and use only oil instead. Personally for me, though, the ghee is a must.

14. If you want to make a gluten-free version of this recipe, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, and are therefore best avoided when following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely use it.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Vegetable Pongal| Ven Pongal With Vegetables

The festival of Pongal is just a couple of days away. Today, let me share with you all a recipe that’s perfect for the occasion – Vegetable Pongal. This is a spin on the traditional savoury Ven Pongal recipe I had shared on the blog some time ago, and an absolutely delicious one at that.

Vegetable Pongal or Ven Pongal with vegetables

What goes into Vegetable Pongal

Like Ven Pongal, this dish is prepared using rice and moong dal. You can use any variety of rice you prefer – I usually go for Sona Masoori.

In addition to the usual ghee, black pepper, cumin, ginger, green chillies and cashewnuts that are used in making pongal, this one also includes vegetables. I usually stick to carrots, green peas and beans to make this Vegetable Pongal. The vegetables make the pongal all the more nutritious and flavourful.

How to make Vegetable Pongal or Ven Pongal with vegetables

Here is how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

1. 1 cup rice

2. 1/4 cup moong dal

3. About 3/4 cup mixed vegetables like carrot, green peas and beans

4. 2 tablespoons ghee

5. A 1-inch piece of ginger

6. 2 green chillies

7. A sprig of curry leaves

8. About 10 cashewnuts

9. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

10. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

11. 2 pinches of asafoetida

12. Salt to taste

13. About 1/2 tablespoon coarsely crushed black pepper or to taste

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left, centre and right: Steps 4, 5 and 6

1. Wash the rice and moong dal thoroughly, then drain out all the water.

2. Transfer the drained rice and moong dal to a wide vessel. Add in 4 cups of water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. In the meantime, prep the vegetables. Keep the green peas ready. Peel the carrot and chop finely. Remove strings from the beans and chop finely.

4. Steam the vegetables using a steamer. Keep ready.

5. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep the curry leaves and cashewnuts handy. Peel the ginger and chop finely.

6. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked rice and moong dal out. Mash them lightly.

Top left and right: Steps 7 and 8, Below top right and bottom right: Step 9, Bottom left: Step 10

7. Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard, and allow them to sputter. Add in the cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, cashewnuts, ginger and slit green chillies. Reduce flame to medium. Saute on medium flame for a minute or so, browning the cashewnuts, taking care not to burn the ingredients.

8. Add in the cooked rice and moong dal. Add about 3/4 cup water or as needed to adjust the consistency of the pongal. Mix well. Continue to keep the flame at medium.

9. Add salt to taste, followed by the coarsely crushed black pepper and the steamed vegetables. Mix well.

10. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the mixture thickens up and comes together well. Switch off gas when the mixture is still on the runnier side – it will thicken up further on cooling. Your Vegetable Pongal is ready. Serve hot, drizzled with some ghee and raita of your choice.

Tips & Tricks

1. Vegetables like green peas, beans and carrot go well in this pongal. I would suggest sticking to similar veggies only.

2. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the pongal that you require.

3. Make sure the rice and moong dal are well cooked and soft before adding them to the pan.

4. Adjust the quantity of black pepper and green chillies depending upon the spice level you are comfortable with.

5. Do not skimp on the ghee. It adds a beautiful fragrance and flavour to the Vegetable Pongal.

6. Remember to keep the Vegetable Pongal runny. It thickens up quite a bit with time.

7. This is a completely vegetarian recipe, but not vegan (plant-based) due to the use of ghee.

8. To make this dish gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, so they are best avoided in case you are following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you could definitely use it.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Vellai Kurma| White Vegetable Kurma

Vellai Kurma refers to a mixed vegetable gravy that is quite popular in Tamilnadu eateries. The dish gets its name from its whitish colour (‘vellai‘ is ‘white’ in Tamil), which comes from the freshly ground coconut paste that goes into it.

This Vellai Kurma tastes extremely delicious, and makes for a wonderful side dish for things like rice, parathas, rotis and rice. It is not a very difficult dish to put together either.

Let me take you through the process of preparing Vellai Kurma at home.

Vellai Kurma or White Vegetable Kurma

What goes into Vellai Kurma?

This Vellai Kurma is made using assorted vegetables like onion, carrot, potato, beans and green peas. This is a delicious way to make use of the fresh winter veggies we are getting this time of the year.

The flavour comes from the whole spices that are used in the tempering as well as a freshly ground paste. The paste is prepared using coconut, green chillies, ginger, garlic, cashewnuts, poppy seeds and fennel. Spices like cinnamon, bay leaves, star anise, cardamom and kapok buds are used in the tempering.

A splash of milk is added in at the end, for extra creaminess and taste. I also use a wee bit of jaggery.

I had shared the recipe for Pattani Kurma some time ago, which is made slightly differently from this one. I will be sharing a couple more variations of kurma in the times to come.

How to make Vellai Kurma

Like I was saying earlier, this Vellai Kurma or White Vegetable Kurma is not very difficult to put together. Here’s how we make it.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

1. 3 cups of mixed vegetables, like carrot, potato, beans and green peas

2. 1 medium-sized onion

3. 3/4 tablespoon oil

4. Salt to taste

5. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder (optional)

6. 1/2 cup of milk

7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

To grind together:

1. 1/2 cup coconut pieces

2. 6-7 cashewnuts

3. 2 green chillies

4. 2 teaspoons poppy seeds (khus khus/gasagasa)

5. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf/sombu)

6. A 1-inch piece of ginger

7. 4 cloves of garlic

For the tempering:

1. A sprig of curry leaves

2. 1 star anise

3. 1 kapok bud (Marathi moggu)

4. 2 green cardamom

5. A small piece of cinnamon

6. A small piece of stone flower (dagadphool/kalpasi)

7. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera/jeeragam)

8. 2 small bay leaves

9. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing/perungayam)

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left and centre: Step 4, Bottom right: Step 5

1. Prep the vegetables first. Peel the carrot and potato and chop into large pieces. Remove strings from the beans and chop into large pieces too. Keep the green peas ready.

2. Transfer the chopped vegetables (carrot, potato, beans and carrot) to a wide vessel. Add in about 2 tablespoons water. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 2 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Chop the onion finely and keep aside. Wash the curry leaves and keep them ready.

4. Put together all the ingredients for grinding. Transfer to a mixer jar and grind everything together to a smooth paste, using a little water. Keep aside.

5. Put together all the ingredients for the tempering.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Centre left and right: Step 8, Bottom left and right: Step 9

6. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down completely, get the cooked vegetables out. Do not drain out the water.

7. Now, we will start preparing the Vellai Kurma. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in all the ingredients for the tempering. Saute for a few seconds.

8. Now, add in the chopped onion. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the onion starts browning.

9. Add the ground paste to the pan at this stage. Wash out the mixer jar with about 1/4 cup water and add it to the pan as well. Saute on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the raw smell of the paste goes away.

Top left and right: Step 10, Below top right: Step 11, Bottom right: Step 12, Bottom left: Step 13

10. When done, add salt to taste. Continue to keep the flame at medium. Add in the cooked vegetables, along with the water they were cooked in.

11. Add in about 3/4 cup of water or as needed to adjust consistency. Add in the jaggery powder, if using. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the mixture thickens and comes together as a whole.

12. Still keeping the flame at medium, add in the milk. Cook for a minute more, then switch off gas. Remember to keep the mixture slightly runny as it thickens up with time.

13. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Vellai Kurma is ready. Serve hot or warm with rotis, plain parathas, pooris or rice.

Is this recipe vegan and gluten-free?

This White Vegetable Kurma recipe is completely vegetarian but not vegan (plant-based) because of the use of milk. Personally, I think the milk contributes to the taste of the kurma, but do skip it if you want to make a vegan version.

If you want to make this dish gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida available commercially contain wheat flour, and are therefore best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

Tips & Tricks

1. ‘English’ vegetables like carrot, peas, beans, turnip and potatoes go well in this kurma. I usually stick to only these veggies. Make sure you don’t miss the potato as it helps in adding body to the kurma. I have used fresh green peas here, but you could just as well use frozen ones.

2. Don’t chop the vegetables too small. Make slightly big pieces.

3. Do not overcook the vegetables. 2 whistles on high flame works perfectly for us.

4. I have used boiled and cooled full-fat milk fr Akshayakalpa here.

5. The jaggery is optional, but I would highly recommend it. It doesn’t make the kurma overly sweet, but balances out the other flavours nicely.

6. Adjust the quantity of green chillies you use, depending upon your spice tolerance.

7. Remember to keep the Vellai Kurma on the runnier side. It thickens up on cooling.

8. You may skip the garlic and onion if you do not prefer using them.

9. I have used poppy seeds and cashewnuts for thickening the gravy. You can use almonds in place of the cashewnuts and fried gram (pottukadalai) in place of the poppy seeds.

10. If you don’t have all the spices used in the tempering, that’s okay. Do try to use at least cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamom.

11. Grated fresh coconut can be used in place of the coconut pieces I have used here.

12. Coconut oil goes best in this Vellai Kurma. However, if you don’t prefer it, any other variety of oil can be used instead.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Menthi Koora Pappu| Andhra Methi Dal

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. 🙂

Delicious Menthi Koora Pappu or Andhra-style Methi Dal

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

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right and below: Step 2, Bottom right: Step 3, Bottom left: Step 4

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.

Top left: Step 5, Top centre and right: Step 6, Bottom left: Step 7, Bottom centre and right: Step 8

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.

Top left, centre and right: Steps 9, 10 and 11, Bottom left and centre: Step 12, Bottom right: Step 13

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!