Methi Gola Bhaji / Methi Dal

Waking up at 5 in the morning to cook is hard in winter but waking up to cook in a cold kitchen is way worse. So why is my kitchen so cold? Let me start at the beginning. This winter so far has been cold or wet but not both at the same time. Two weeks back everything changed. We got our first winter storm with ice, freezing rain and thunder sleet (yes there is such a thing). A day after the ice melted we had another winter storm with more sleet. And a day later a third one brought 3 inches of snow over 6 hours. It was like mother nature was trying to catch up for lost time. And right in the middle of the snow storm out furnace blew. To  add to our woes that day my daughter forgot to close the garage door on the way home. That helped the temperature on the first floor to drop overnight to the low 50s. That was of course on a Friday with the weekend ahead of us. Luckily the second floor furnace is working so we can all huddle upstairs. But the kitchen is on the first floor and hence cooking has been a challenge.

I have found that once the food is on the stove the kitchen does warm up. And this recipe is perfect to heat up the kitchen. It takes a little time to get to the right consistency. Methi gola bhaji is a pithala like dish made with toor dal. It can be made with any green leaves, I used methi. It has simple ingredients and makes a nice variation for dal and is a handy side dish. Given my cold kitchen, my family got this bhaji and poli (chapati) for dinner. And in case you are wondering today we are heading for warmer temperatures. We will be in the 60s. Tomorrow there will be sleet but we all enjoyed the moderately warm, very gloomy, cloudy and foggy day that was today.

You will need
1 cup toor dal
one bunch fresh methi
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1/4 tsp. asafoetida
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp. jaggery
1/2 tbsp. tamarind juice/paste
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Cook the toor dal in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes (or 3 whistles). Let the pressure drop before opening the pressure cooker. Meanwhile separate the methi leaves from the stems and wash thoroughly. Chop the methi leaves and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the asafeotida and turmeric powder. Then add the methi leaves. Let them cook on low heat until they wilt but are not mushy. Now add the jaggery, tamarind, the coriander cumin powder, garam masala and cayenne powder. Combine well with the cooked methi leaves.

Now add the cooked dal and if need 1/4 cup water. Let it mixture cook on medium heat until it thickens. Continue cooking until the water is all gone and the bhaji can be served with a spoon and not a ladle. Turn off heat.

Enjoy with poli and pickle.


  1. Thats a lovely dish and will be definitely approved by the family...., a real good one.

  2. Wow that's a delicious daal bhaaji..

  3. I usually have it along with rice and some chutney on the side...

  4. Love this Methi dal.. Perefect for rotis .

  5. Thick methi bhaji is just inviting me, thanks for sharing this beautiful bhaji..

  6. Sorry to hear Varada. A cold home in the middle of winter is no fun. However 50s and 60s outside right now sounds like heaven. We have been in the midst of snowfalls and temperatures anywhere between - 20 F and 20 deg F for the past few months. :)
    That is one comforting meal.

  7. Nice variation to regular Dal. Take care and enjoy the weather Varada.

  8. Hope the weather improves soon enough - I hate cooking in a cold kitchen too - especially washing and chopping veggies :( But on the plus side, the bhaji looks warm and inviting :)

  9. Hope things get better soon Varada, must be so hard on all..and this dish surely helps cheer the mood..very nicely done..

  10. A cold home in sub zero temperatures is awful, Varada. I would love to share your dinner :). Sounds very comforting on a cold winter night!

  11. Oh my! That must have been so worse in winter!! I used to hate cooking in winters in my other kitchen where we used to have just a heater instead of central heating. And this dish surely made up for most part of the trouble I guess.

  12. This methi dal is very similar to what we make in Andhra except for the addition of jaggery. Very comforting and hearty dish.

  13. This look so yummy, this goes well with bhakri.

  14. Steaming hot rice and dal, real comfort food!!! Flavorful dal!!


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