Tuesday, March 2, 2010

dahl for dinner, dahling

Sometimes during the late winter – OK, early spring in Victoria – I just need a recipe that’s easy, tasty and heats up well in my lunch the next day.

Yellow split pea dahl fits the bill exactly. And if you’d like another positive adjective, it’s also cheap.

My friend Angela in Halifax shared this recipe with me years ago, and it has well earned its spot in my regular winter meal rotation.

I’m not sure how authentic it is, but does that really matter when you like how it tastes? I think not.

I did do a bit of research and found that yellow split peas aren’t used for dahl in India, but are more often used in Indian communities in Guyana and Trinidad.

That’s fine with me. I had great Indian food in Guyana. Serve it up.

yellow split pea dahl

1 c. yellow split peas, rinsed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. gingerroot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 onions, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
3/4 c. canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/8 – 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
3 tbsp. fresh coriander/cilantro, chopped
2 – 3 tsp. lemon juice

In a large saucepan, bring the spit peas, salt, turmeric and 2 1/2  cups water to boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat. Cover and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes. Check every so often to see if it needs an extra bit of water.

If you’d like rice, start cooking it now.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, cumin and fennel and cook for 1 minute.

Add onions and zucchini and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir often.

Add tomatoes, garam masala and cayenne pepper and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the split pea mixture. Reduce heat and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until a spoon dragged across the bottom of the pan leaves a trail. Stir in coriander and lemon juice to taste.

Serve over white or brown rice. My favourites are this one and this one.

Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.


  1. Looks like this will be dinner tonight! :) I love the photos, and your blog is looking great!!

  2. just to follow up...this has become a dinner and lunch-time favourite!!!
    Hope you guys have a wonderful Easter!

  3. Stephanie,

    I am doubling this recipe for dinner and leftovers this week. It's the 3rd time I've made it and I love this meal.