Warming and cheerful, this Yellow Split Pea Dal is full of homey flavours that awaken the senses; serve with steamed basmati rice for a complete meal!
I never grew up eating anything remotely close to dal, that’s for sure! Like I have mentioned previously, my mom was the main cook in our family home. She was accustomed to preparing simple, rustic dishes that didn’t explore tastes and flavours much further that what was considered local.
Thinking back, I can recall my mother’s spice rack having each one of the spices featured in this recipe, but I can’t ever recall her using them all in the same dish! Spices like cloves and cinnamon were only ever used in baking. She never added them to a savoury dish.
I can remember her spice rack having turmeric and cumin, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think the seal was every cracked on the jar of cumin. (Maybe that’s why I don’t care for it that much!) And, her jar of turmeric was only ever used when she made Preserved Mustard Pickles.
But, yellow split peas was another story completely! Yellow split peas were – and still are – a very popular ingredient in Newfoundland cuisine. In some families, yellow split peas are still used at least once a week to make a boiled peas pudding, which is a traditional side served with Jigg’s Dinner.
Yellow split peas can also be found quite regularly in Yellow Split Pea Soup. (Mine is a vegetarian version and is so yummy!) It can also be found in many stew and soup recipes as well. Newfoundlander’s love their yellow split peas, that’s for sure!
And, why shouldn’t they? These little gems are very good for you and contribute to overall health. They are are high in fiber, protein, and various vitamins and minerals but low in fats.
So, why should you make this Yellow Split Pea Dal? Because it’s delicious. There, have I said enough? The taste is warm and soothing. The cumin, turmeric, curry, and cloves add such a depth and such a comfort to the dish. In addition to that, there’s the aromatics that add to the flavour profile and bring that homemade feeling to the dish.
Serving this with basmati rice is such a great option if you’re looking to complete the meal. The steamed rice pairs so well with the texture of the broken down yellow split peas. Also, a tablespoon or so of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream served right on top is so good too! Try serving it with flat bread too.
All in all, you don’t need the rice or any other accompaniment. The Yellow Split Pea Dal is perfectly filling and wholesome on its own. Besides, if there’s no sides, you can fit more dal into your bowl, right!?
If you loved this recipe, here are some other Indian-inspired recipes that might interest you as well:
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Yellow Split Pea Dal with Basmati Rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, optional
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 cups yellow split peas, not pre-soaked
- 2 cups basmati rice, cooked as per package instructions
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- In a heavy bottomed pan with a lid, add the olive oil and onions. Saute the onions over medium heat until translucent – about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger. Stir into the onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the turmeric, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, and dried red chili flakes. Stir into the onion mixture.
- Next, add the vegetable broth and tomato paste. Stir the mixture until the tomato paste is well incorporated.
- Lastly, stir in the yellow split peas. Reduce the heat to simmer and place the lid on the pan. Simmer for one hour.
- Remove the lid and stir the dal. Place the lid back on the pan and continue to simmer, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Depending on the brand of yellow split peas you’re using, this dish may take less than two hours of cooking time. Once the peas have broken down and become just slightly mushy, the dal is ready. If the peas are not tender and soft when you taste, continue to simmer. If the dal becomes a little dry, add 1/4 cup more of vegetable stock, stir and continue to simmer.
- Once the dal is ready, remove from heat, and serve immediately with the cooked basmati rice.
- To garnish top with chopped cilantro or parsley. (I used parsley, because I don’t care for the taste of cilantro.) Serve with sour cream or plain yogurt.
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