Menthya Soppina Thovve: Fresh Methi Leaves Cooked In Dal
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People in Karnataka love their soppus. For those not in the know, soppus are the greens found in abundance across the southern state. Kannadigas are appreciative of this green bounty and include them in their diet with enthusiasm. Soppu saaru, Huli Soppu, Masoppu, and Sabsige Soppu Chitranna are a few recipes that use the greens. There are plenty of dishes cooked with a variety of green leafy vegetables. Vegetable carts carrying fresh greens is a common sight in cities, towns and villages across the state. 

Just like milk, some households make arrangements for door-step delivery of absolutely fresh soppus every morning. Carrying a variety of greens in a wicker basket, the hawker calls out to his customers by screaming ‘soppu’ in a unique way. 

Malabar spinach (basale soppu), gongura leaves (pundi soppu), amaranath (dantina soppu), mustard leaves (sasve soppu), flaxseed leaves (agase soppu), drumstick leaves (nugge soppu), dill (sabsige soppu), garden nightshade (ganike soppu), and radish leaves (mullangi soppu) are thrown in different kinds of sambar, dal, and palya (vegetable) to rustle up a wholesome diet. All soppus go well with rice but masoppu saaru (mashed greens gravy) pairs up best with ragi mudde (ragi balls), yet another favourite of Karnataka.

Here we present a very simple dish of menthe soppu tovve or methi dal. A nutritious dish combining the goodness and nuanced flavours of methi with an evergreen dal. This dish uses moong dal but its other versions are churned out with toor dal. In Andhra style, a combination of toor and moong dals are used. Those who don’t like the bitterness of fenugreek, soak it in warm salt water for 15 minutes but then the leaves lose all their nutrition.

Here’s the recipe for Menthya Soppina Thovve.


  • ½ cup moong dal 
  • 1½ cup fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds 
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 cup chopped tomato 
  • ¾ tbsp salt 
  • Marble-sized tamarind 
  • A little jaggery
  • 4 green chillies (slit)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder

For tempering:

  • 1 tsp oil 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida


  • Cook half a cup of moong dal with 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker for 4 whistles. 
  • Switch off the flame and wait for the pressure from the cooker to settle down.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and dry red chillies. Wait for mustard seeds to splutter. 
  • Add methi and saute for five minutes. Ensure that the methi is wilted and there is very little moisture left.
  • Add tomatoes and saute till tomatoes turn mushy. 
  • Cook covered for a few seconds.
  • Add turmeric powder, slit green chillies, marble sized tamarind which has been soaked for 10 minutes. Squeeze all its juice.
  • Add salt and mix well.
  • Add a small piece of jaggery. 
  • Add the cooked yellow moong dal. Simmer for a minute. If the dal is very thick, put 1/4 cup of water to adjust the consistency of the dal.
  • Give a boil and switch off.

For tempering:

  • Put one tsp of oil. 
  • Add ½ tsp cumin seeds 
  • Add ¼ tsp asafoetida
  • Add a few curry leaves 
  • Let it splutter
  • And temper the tovve.