Mamta's Kitchen

Urad Dal Skinless (Split Black Gram), With Fenugreek Leaves

Urad Dal Methi

Reeta Kumar

Lentils can be cooked in many combinations. This particular dal combines the flavour of urad dal with the strong flavour of dry methi leaves. You can use fresh methi leaves, but you will need more, see below. It happens to be one of our family favourites. Serves 4

Edited August 2018


  • 1 cup Urad dal, either with skin or skinless

  • 3 cups hot water (use more if not using pressure cooker)

  • 2 tbsp. kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) or 1 bunch of fresh methi leaves.

  • Salt to taste (1-1 1/2 tsp.)

  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

  • For basic tarka:

  • 2-3 tbsp. ghee or sunflower or rapeseed oil. Ghee tastes better but oil is healthier.

  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds

  • A large pinch of asafoetida or hing powder

  • 2-3 whole red chillies broken up

  • 1/2 tsp. chilli powder*

  • *If you don't like chillies, uses sweet paprika powder instead. It will still give a nice, smokey flavour to your dal, without the heat.


  1. Wash dal well. Leave to soak for 30 minutes or so.

  2. Drain the water off before cooking.

  3. If using fresh methi leaves, remove thick stalks, wash and chop finely.

  4. Cooking in a Slow Cooker

  5. Place dal, methi, turmeric and salt in the slow cooker bowl.

  6. Add water.

  7. Switch on full/medium, depending upon how you like to cook your dals. On full, it cooks in about 3-4 hours. Slow cooker performances vary, so watch the time the first time you make it.

  8. Cooking in Pressure cooker

  9. Place the dal, methi leaves, water, salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker. Place gram, water, turmeric, salt, bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon in a pressure cooker. Close the lid and bring to boil, until you hear hissing sound. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes or 2-3 whistles. Cool fully, before opening the lid.

  10. Cooking without pressure cooker:

  11. Bring to boil and simmer briskly until tender but not mushy, you should be able to see the texture of dal. You may need to add more water during the cooking, if the dal begins to look too thick and dry. This dal should not be either watery or too solid.

  12. Place in a serving bowl.

  13. Tarka or tempering:

  14. Heat ghee or oil in a tarka ladle (can be bought from an Indian store) or a small pan.

  15. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida powder and let the seeds start to splutter/turn brown.

  16. Add whole chillies and chilli powder, stir with a small spoon, pour immediately over the cooked dal. Cover with a lid immediately, to allow the flavours to infuse into the dal.

  17. Serve hot with Chapatties and Boiled Rice.

  18. Also see Dal Selection.


  • Overcooked or leftover dal can be added to roti or chapatti flour when making a dough. You can also add some finely chopped onions to the dough. This makes delicious rotis and parathas. You will need to add extra salt.

  • Amount of dal required per person depends on whether you are serving the dal with roti or with rice. Rice requires more dal.

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