Menthya Matvadi Palya | A stir fry of Fenugreek leaves with lentils
Menthya Matvadi (Matodi) Palya is a dish made using fenugreek leaves and lentils, a sort of dry curry that can be eaten with both rotis and rice.
Sometimes, you hear of a dish and you know from the way it sounds that you'll like it.
My friend Lakshmi and me, while we discuss blogging, work etc. our conversations also meander to the mundane 'so what was for lunch today'. In these conversations, she had mentioned this dish 'matvadi palya' more than once and that it is her mom in law's specialty, a dish from the Kannada Madhva Brahmin community.
I have never heard of this dish and was quite curious to try it out. I would ask Lakshmi for the recipe and not being a very keen cook, she would just say, "it has methi leaves and chana dal"- leaving me to my own devices to search for this unusual dish that was luring me.
I finally got hold of the recipe (thanks to the generous spirit of food bloggers sharing their family recipes), tried it in my kitchen and it lived up to all my expectations.
When I was all set to blog this recipe, I asked Lakshmi what she loved about this dish. She said that she loved it because of its unusual flavour and the crispy bits from the dal paste that has slowly cooked in oil. "It is one of the few curries I can eat on its own, needs no accompaniments," she added. This, I fully agree with! Her husband shares that it one of his favourite dishes made by his mother. It is also an advantage that it stays for a couple of days, so you can make extra and enjoy it the next day.
Another friend, Sudha Kanago, whom I consider an expert on all things culture, shares some interesting details about this palya:
"It is called mudde palya in North Karnataka. In Gulbarga district, it is a mandatory part of festive meal, while in Dharwad it is made for non festive days. A short cut is adding pressure cooked dal to sautéed greens with fresh coconut. It is had with jowar roti, chapati or rice based on consistency, the thicker variety for eating with rotis, and thinner for eating with rice. It is made all types of greens including palak, sabbassige (dill leaves) and a whole variety of native greens. One can also use besan instead of dal, which would cut down the prep time."
This dish needs a little prep in terms of soaking the dal for a few hours before it can be ground to a coarse paste and sautéed along with the finely chopped methi leaves. In a way it is quite similar to our Usili, which is a dish that combines certain vegetables with a dal crumble.
You can either use tur dal instead of chana dal or a mix of both the dals for this recipe.
We loved this with plain rice and a yogurt based mor kuzhambu.
Menthya Matvadi Palya | Fenugreek greens with lentils
- Wash the chana dal well and soak it in a bowl of water for 2 hours. Drain the soaked dal and grind to a coarse paste with green chilies, ginger and salt. Keep aside.
- Wash the methi leaves 2-3 times by swishing in a sink or tub of water. Drain well and chop it finely.
- In a large non-stick pan, heat oil. Add asafoetida, mustard seeds, curry leaves, dried red chillies and stir until seeds splutter.
- Add the finely chopped methi leaves and turmeric and stir fry on high flame until the leaves are wilted.
- Add the ground dal paste to this, breaking it into smaller clumps using a spatula.
- On a low-medium flame, allow the dal crumble to cook and turn golden brown. This process takes around 20 minutes, with a bit of supervision.
- Garnish with fresh coconut and serve hot with rice or rotis.
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