Yellow Split Pea Dal

Dal is a soup or creamy side dish made from dried peas or beans that is often served alongside Indian meals. This soup version is subtle in flavor and comforting. Add more or less jalapeño to adjust spiciness.


Makes four to six servings
Hands-on preparation time: 15 minutes
Total preparation time: 90 minutes

  • 1 cup yellow split peas, rinsed well
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tbs. ghee (or butter)
  • 1 tbs. ground coriander
  • 11/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 to 3 jalapeños, minced
  • 4 medium, ripe tomatoes, chopped, about 3 cups (or canned)
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Combine the split peas, water, turmeric, cinnamon stick, and 1 tablespoon of the ghee in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to an hour until the peas are tender. Remove the cinnamon stick and stir the dal to make it smooth and creamy. When the dal is finished cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat, and dry-roast the coriander, cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, and black pepper for one to two minutes, shaking the pan to toast the spices evenly until they are highly fragrant. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee to combine with the spices, then add the jalapeños and tomatoes and sauté over medium heat. Add a little salt, and simmer until the tomatoes are softened and the liquid has been reduced. Add the cooked vegetables and spices to the dal, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Top with cilantro to serve.

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