Yellow Split Pea Dahl

Dahl is one of those things that never really excited me that much until fairly recently. They always seemed like something that was the accompaniment to a meal and not the star. As you know I have a vegetarian in the house and a regular vegan visitor, so I really felt that a nice dahl was something that I wanted to master. I love dahl makhani, but today I went for something a little less complicated.

 This one perhaps is the simplest and you don’t have to go hunting for a lot of tricky to find ingredients. Everything you need can be found at your local supermarket. It’s buttery, spicy and has a delicious flavour. There is rarely any left when I make this, but it’s also fantastic the next day. Dahl also freezes well.

This one is centred around yellow split peas, something that I’ve never really used other than in soups. But they’ve become a regular staple in my pantry with this dahl. Split peas don’t need to be soaked overnight before cooking, but having said that I do soak these before I make this dahl, purely because I like a softer texture. I also tend to cook it for a lot longer than the recipe states for the same reason, I like the peas almost mushy. Either make your own indian bread to go with this, or take a shortcut and buy some frozen naan, it’s normally fairly good - although expensive!

This yellow split pea dahl is very inexpensive to make, it feeds roughly 8 people for under five dollars - so it really is budget friendly. If you like you can seek out chana dahl from your indian grocer and make it with that.

Yellow Split Pea Dahl

2 cups chana dal or yellow split peas
8 cups water
4 tomatoes, quartered
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds (optional)
10 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped, and/or 1 or 2 hot green Thai or Serrano chiles, stemmed and halved lengthwise
1 ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 to 2 teaspoon ground cayenne (use the maximum if no fresh chiles are used)
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 tablespoons chopped coriander, leafy tops only - or parsley if you are a coriander hater like me.

1. Put the dahl and water into a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim the scum and then add the tomato. Lower the heat to simmer. Cover and cook until the dahl is soft and broken up, 40 to 60 minutes or more if you like a very soft dahl. Add more water if you think it is looking a little thick. I like mine quite thick so I generally find I don’t need to add more.  Remove and discard the tomato skin pieces, and then gently whisk  or mash with a potato masher to further blend the dahl and tomato. The dahl will break up a bit.

You can make the dahl a day in advance up to this point. Let it cool completely and refrigerate. Return it to room temperature before moving forward. Add a splash of water when bringing it up to a simmer as it’s bound to thicken a lot from sitting overnight.

2. Bring the dahl to a simmer and have a lid ready before proceeding. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and partially cover - the mustard seeds will pop up. Decrease the heat to medium. After the seeds stop sputtering, uncover.

Add the garlic and onion, and chillies . Cook, stirring for a good 5 minutes, until the onion has turned a dark brown.

Turn off the heat and stir in turmeric, coriander, and cayenne. Add to the simmering dahl. Stir in the salt and butter. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes to develop the flavour. Taste and add extra salt, as needed. Transfer to a shallow bowl, garnish with coriander or parsley, and enjoy with rice and your favourite indian bread. Easily made vegan by just substituting vegan margarine for the butter.

Something I discovered while poking about online, is that this type of yellow split pea is generally used in dahl’s in Fiji, Guyana and Trindad - who knew!

Feel free to increase or decrease the quantities according to taste. The recipe can also be halved easily to feed four. I just like to make a large amount in the hopes that there might be some leftovers. This recipe is from Vietworld Kitchen - one of my favourite blogs, if you’ve not seen it before- hop on over and have a look.

Recipe courtsey of Vietworld Kitchen

Breakfast Beans

“Why beans for breakfast?” The author says that since beans take longer to digest than many other foods, breakfast is the ideal time to eat them, because you will then have all day to digest. And it’s hot, savory, and a good, filling breakfast. (A friend of ours tells us that beans at breakfast is good for her blood sugar, too!)

½ cup split peas
¼ cup lima beans
¼ cup garbanzo beans
1 teaspoon basil
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cups water
¼ cup onion, chopped
1 bay leaf

Put all ingredients into slow cooker. Set to cook on high until the beans come to a boil. Then turn it to low to cook overnight. More water often needs to be added in the morning. Enjoy with toast or hot cereal. Also try the Red Bean Mix or the White Bean Mix, which you will find below. (Use 1 cup for each batch of Breakfast Beans.)

Red Bean Mix

1 ¼ cups pinto beans
1 ¼ cups kidney beans
1 cup black beans
1/3 cup mung beans
1/3 cup green split peas

White Bean Mix

2 cups lima beans
2 cup small white beans
½ cup yellow split peas

Fava: yellow split peas with caramelized onions

For the fava puree:

70gr olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
250gr yellow split peas
1,5 litre of water
salt and pepper to taste

For the caramelized onions:

2 medium onions cut in slices
3Tsps olive oil
1Tsp capers

In a pot over medium heat, add 40gr olive oil (2Tsps) and the chopped onion. Season with salt and cook until the onion has wilted.
Add the fava and water reduce to a very low heat and cook for 1- 1,5 hour stirring frequently. If the fava begins to thicken too much before being properly cooked, add more water. When the fava is ready (it will now have the consistency of a thick puree), remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Place in a blender; in batches if needed, and pulse. Add the remaining olive oil while mixing and taste.
In a saucepan over low heat, add the onions and olive oil and cook stirring frequently until they are ’’ caramelized” but not crispy or turning brown.
Serve fava warm or cool, topped with caramelized onion and capers. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.



Serves 4


300g/101⁄2oz yellow split peas
1 onion, chopped
200g/7oz chopped tomatoes (from a tin or fresh) thumb of fresh root ginger, finely grated
2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp crushed finely in a mortar 2 tsp ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, one crushed, one thinly sliced
10 freeze-dried curry leaves
700ml/11⁄4 pts hot vegetable stock
1 hot green finger chilli, thinly sliced
2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
lemon wedges, to serve 


Place the split peas, onion, tomatoes, ginger, ground cumin, turmeric, crushed garlic, curry leaves and stock into a slow cooker. Add most of the chilli and stir to combine. Cook on high for four hours, until the split peas are tender.  –– Season the dal generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Just before serving, heat the oil in a saucepan. When the oil is very hot, add the whole cumin seeds and the sliced garlic. Fry until the garlic is golden-brown and the cumin smells toasty and almost smoky. Spoon the hot spiced oil over the dhal, scatter with the remaining green chilli, then serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.


Curried Yellow Split Peas

I hate to say it but winter really is coming and I am not looking forward to it! I’m not a big fan of the snow and the cold and the not being able to leave to house for fear of freezing. But the plus side is that cold weather cooking really is comforting, and leaving the house doesn’t seem so scary when you’re full of warm & delicious food! I accidentally bought a bag of split yellow peas a while back, thinking they were lentils, and ended up being happy I made that mistake! Split peas are super simple to cook, and can be paired with a lot of different sides. Here’s a new one I’ve been trying, a lazy cook’s version of split pea dhal.



1 cup of dry yellow split peas [this amount will make 2 cups of cooked split peas, enough for about 3-4 servings. I like to make enough so as to have leftovers for a bit]

2 tablespoons of ground cumin

1 tablespoon of curry spice

1 tablespoon of cayenne 

1 tablespoon of ground chipotle chiles 

Salt & pepper

1 cup of diced onion

½ cup of green pepper [per serving]

I served this on top of ½ cup of rice, but it’s also great on its own.

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