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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Menthikoora Pappu / Andhra Style Methi Dal

Give a bunch of greens to a person from Andhra, 90% chances are that they are going to get used in a pappu. The local favorites usually are gongura, chukkakoora, thotakoora (amaranth greens) and so on. Paapu is a dal preparation from Andhra, that is kept on a thicker side unlike sambhar and no spice mixes go into the dish. Toor dal / yellow lentils is usually preferred to make pappu and occasionally moong dal is substituted. 
I get only 3 to 4 varieties of greens here locally, that I grew up seeing in India. Of course there are loads of other varieties available. I can get spinach and methi/ fenugreek greens leaves all year round while occasionally I see gongura, amaranath and Malabar spinach at Indian grocers'. And so, spinach and methi get used extensively in my kitchen while my husband keeps getting nostalgic about the greens he grew up eating.

I don't mind using American brands' frozen spinach and use it liberally in my cooking whereas with methi leaves, I try to use fresh ones as much as possible. The frozen methi I get here are Indian brands and I have noticed that half the packet is filled with chopped stalks of methi leaves which tend to be on the bitter side and also there are even weeds like chopped grass stalks sometimes. Either it is because of the carelessness of the packers or slyness of the manufacturers, I guess. I feel like being cheated when I cut open a packet only to come across the sneaky additions of ripened tindora slices, green leafy vegetables with unwanted weeds, smelly coconut or browned surti papdi though the packet promises you that things are frozen fresh. And so the lesson I learnt is to buy fresh methi leaves as much as possible to avoid the disappointment.
I realized that surprisingly menthikoora pappu hasn't been posted yet on my blog though it gets frequently made at my home and is one of my favorite dishes. And so I decided to go with this yummy, flavorful dal for today's post.

Toordal / Kandipappu - 3/4 cup
1 small bunch of methi leaves / fenugreek greens
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste (I used about 3/4 tsp.)
2 to 3 tbsp. thick tamarind juice (Soak about a lemon sized tamarind in water and extract thick juice. )
Tadka: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp each of mustard seeds & cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida powder, few curry leaves 

* Pluck the leaves from the methi bunch and discard any damaged ones. Wash and roughly chop them. Don't be tempted to use the stalks in the case of methi leaves. They lend a bitter taste to the dish, even if they are looking tender.
* Wash the lentils with two exchanges of water. Pressure cook lentils, methi leaves, turmeric powder and about 1 & 1/2 cups of water together. If not using a pressure cooker, soak the lentilS in water for about a couple of hours to fasten the cooking. And then proceed with cooking in a sauce pan on stove-top until the lentils turns mushy, adding water as needed in between.
* When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid of the cooker and mash the cooked lentils well with the back of a ladle.
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start to crackle and pop, add asafoetida and curry leaves. Next add the cooked lentil-methi mixture, tamarind, salt and chili powder. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
* Bring the mixture to a boil and continue cooking for about 1-2 minutes and turn off the stove.
* Serve warm with hot steamed rice or rotis. 

This goes to Blogging Marathon #50, under the theme of "Methi Dishes". Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.



Varadas Kitchen said...

Very similar to the Maharashtrian methi dal. One of my favorites too.

Sarita said...

I do prepare the same way. Dal looks yumm.Only I add tomatoes sometimes to replace tamarind . Even I love to eat chukka kura , gongura..Pappu

Annu Swamy said...

yes, most south indians love their greens in their dal, including me! I too will be making something similar for my methi entry :)

Srivalli said...

This is our all time favorite dal at home and I was surprised too that you haven't shared it yet here..:)..I love that bowl of dal!..very inviting..

Padmajha PJ said...

Love your bowl Suma! And the dal is for sure a treat to the taste buds....

Priya Suresh said...

Wish i get that thick dal rite nw, very tempting dish.

Pavani N said...

You are so right about frozen methi Suma. It is very dry and bitter, which is why I prefer the fresh ones too.
Menthikura pappu is one of my favorite dishes with methi.

Harini-Jaya R said...

Love menthikoora pappu. Standard at home. I so miss chukkakoora.

sneha datar said...

A tasty dal and nice pics.