Urad and Toor Dal with Fresh Fenugreek

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Urad and Toor Dal with Fresh Fenugreek

Sometimes a gentle Indian meal with split dal is just the thing I crave. I adore the creamy texture and mellow yet unique flavor of urad dal mixed with toor dal and smoky, aromatic spices. Fresh fenugreek is a must in this dish and it was a delight to find some at my local Indian grocery store. It imparts a slight bitterness and pepperiness but a highly pleasing and subdued contrast to the tomato and spice components of the dal. I served it with hot white basmati rice, but it certainly would go well with naan or any other Indian flat bread and a side vegetable dish to complete the meal.

I'm reposting this recipe from the archives with some updated photos and revisions.

Urad and Toor Dal with Fresh FenugreekUrad and Toor Dal with Fresh Fenugreek
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
First published on April 23, 2010

Simple dal and tomato curry seasoned with fresh peppery fenugreek leaves

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  • 2/3 cup skinless split urad dal, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup toor dal, rinsed
  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil, sesame oil or ghee
  • 1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, sesame oil or ghee
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (optional)
  • Soak the urad dal and toor dal in enough water to cover for at least 1 hour. Drain, transfer to a medium saucepan, and add 1 2/3 cups of water and the turmeric. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the dals are soft, stirring occasionally to ensure the water does not boil away, about 30 to 40 minutes.

  • Add the fenugreek leaves to the pot and stir.

  • Heat the oil or ghee in a frying pan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the ginger and chilies and stir for a few minutes. Add the tomato and salt to the pan and cook until the tomato begins to soften and thicken. Add the tomato to the dals, bring to a boil again, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Turn off the heat.

  • For the tempering, wipe the frying pan down and heat the oil or ghee over medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the asafetida, chili powder and amchoor if using, stir a few times, and then immediately pour into the dal. Stir once and cover immediately. Let stand for 5 minutes to let the smoky flavor of the tempering diffuse into the dal. Stir well to combine and serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Urad Dal with Fresh Fenugreek

More urad dal recipes from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Urad Dal with Tomatoes
Fennel Flavoured Ural Dal Soup
Urad Dal with Tomatoes, Spices and Coconut

Audio Accompaniment: Arc of Passion by Steve Roach


Roxan said...

Mmm, I'm getting ready to have lunch, I wish I could have a bowl of that today!

Astra Libris said...

So perfectly comforting... I'm imagining the wonderful texture of the dal, and feeling warmer and cheerier already! :-)

AJ said...

Urad and methi - what a perfect combination!!

CurryLeaf said...

Love the combo of urad and methi.Exotic.Normally split urad is not used in a recipe compare to whole black one.Must try

Usha said...

This dhal looks inviting, the combination of urad and fenugreek sounds perfect !

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I was watching The Delicious Miss Dahl last night and she was making dahl, which gave me a serious craving. I like the sound of this one even more :)

Indhu said...

simple comforting foods are the best, aren't they? :)

Maccaveggieblog said...

Hi, I found your blog through another website! I love Indian food and this dish looks very good:)) Bye Sabrina

Anonymous said...

Interesting dhal. Bookmarked!

eatme_delicious said...

Looks good! I bought some fenugreek but I guess it's dried or the spice or something? I haven't used it yet.

Lisa Turner said...


Sounds like you picked up some dried fenugreek leaves (methi), though fenugreek is available in powder and seed form too. If you do have the dried leaves, just use them instead of the fresh leaves, but use less. If you can find the fresh leaves, they are a real treat.

Lily Lau said...

Looks so good, need to try it definitely! Thanks for sharing :)

Joanne said...

I love fresh fenugreek but it's so hard to find for me! Must remember this for when I get my hands on some!

Juhi said...

hi Lisa!

how much would one cup be? I have a whole bunch of methi leaves! about half a bunch?

p.s. so so good to see you active again! I got this amazing bunch of fresh methi leaves from my Indian grocery store, and yours was the first site I knew I wanted to look at for figuring out what to do with it!

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Juhi: Thanks for dropping in! It depends on how big your bunch of fenugreek leaves is and also how much of a fenugreek flavour you are looking for. I would say roughly half a bunch. Just think of the leaves as about a cup of roughly measured leaves - not a cup of leaves firmly packed into a cup.

Juhi said...

thank you! that was helpful!