Matodi Palya also called as Matawadi Palya is a dish made of soaked Bengal gram or Chana Dal and fenugreek / methi leaves. It is one of those dishes which fall under the category of extremely tasty but time and oil consuming ones! You need to plan ahead as it needs the dal to be soaked for a few hours, the methi leaves picked, washed and chopped. Hence this is made as part of a special meal on a festival day or a weekend when you can over eat and play couch potato. This vegetable or palya as it is called in Kannada is quite crumbly by itself, making it necessary to add more oil (gulp!) when it is mixed with rice. It is eaten as a special combination with curd based gravies such as Majjige Huli or Hasi Majjige and even gojju or sweet and sour gravy.
There are again different versions of preparing this delectable dish. Just Bengal gram and sometimes a combination of both Bengal gram and Toor Dal are used here. Would like to add that this is also made with raw bananas or sometimes with cluster beans in place of the methi leaves. You could add a whole lot more than the amount of methi leaves mentioned here. The dal or dals are first soaked for a few hours till soft. Then ground with spices, green chillies and coconut till smooth. Then comes out your big kadai or frying pan. Biggest one actually! Folks don't take to it kindly if you don't serve this very generously at least twice a day, leftovers are lapped up without a murmur of protest! The ground paste is fried till all the moisture evaporates and you get a divine aroma wafting through your home. Health conscious and lazy folks prefer to steam this paste as we steam idlis, then add a lesser amount of oil and fry for lesser time. I am yet to try making Matodi Palya this way, but definitely sounds like a promising idea. I personally like to eat this with plain steamed rice and oil, then with loads of rasam and then with curd rice. Oh, yes! Its heavenly! If you have never tasted this, I urge you try it, you will surely love it...
This is my mother-in-law's recipe and boy was I glad she made a lot of it!! I won't tell you that I hogged on this and how!!
Bengal Gram / Chana Dal 1 1/2 Cups
Fresh fenugreek / methi leaves, chopped - 1 cup firmly packed ( you could use 2 cups too, more doesn't hurt)
Green Chillies - 5-6 large
Asafetida / Hing - A generous pinch
Fresh Coconut, grated - 1/2 cup
Jeera powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 1/4 cup plus 1 or 2 tablespoons more as needed
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Bengal Gram - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves - A few
Salt to taste
Procedure: Wash and soak the Bengal gram in enough water for about 3 hours or till soft. Think Masala Vadas! Grind the dal to an almost smooth paste using as little water as possible. A few whole grains here and there is fine. Grind the coconut, jeera powder, hing and green chillies to a smooth paste. In a large bowl, mix the ground dal, coconut paste, turmeric powder, chopped methi leaves and salt to taste. The ground mixture may taste spicy now, but once fried it will be less spicy. At this stage you could steam the mixture till cooked and then carry on with the rest of the procedure.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large broad, thick bottomed frying pan. Add the mustard seeds, chana dal and curry leaves. Add the dal mixture and fry on high heat for a few minutes, stirring continuously. This lot of oil will disappear like magic! Don't worry, it will resurface sometime later...
Lower the heat, cover the pan with a lid. You need to keep mixing the palya every 5 minutes or so for about half an hour. The raw smell should disappear, the dal cooked, crumbly and oily when done.
Serve with hot rice and oil, gojju / majjige huli / hasi majjige...The above quantity serves 3-4 people.