Holy Split! (+ A Brand New Look for Umami Girl, and Last Week’s Contest Winners)

Well, hello there. Welcome to Umami Girl’s new digs! I’ve been hard at work giving this space a renovation for spring, which explains both the new look and the sparseness of actual content these past few weeks. You know when you move into a new home and it suddenly feels sort of normal to live with the echos of footsteps and voices bouncing off bare walls and floorboards? How, sure, you haven’t unpacked the dishes or screwed the legs back on the dining room table, so you might as well enjoy your dinner of Chinese takeout and cold bottled beer while sitting cross-legged on the floor? That’s how it’s felt around here for a couple of weeks now. We’ve still got some art to hang and some furniture to slide around, but we’re settling in nicely. I would love to hear your thoughts on the new design, both positive and constructive, in the comments.

To complement the new look, there will be lots of new, exciting content coming your way. In May we’ll be releasing a free Getting Started Guide for anyone and everyone who wants to incorporate more plant-based meals into their life but could use a little guidance getting started. I’m tickled by the number of you who have already signed up to receive a copy when it’s released (and I’m not even all that ticklish). If you’d like to join the list, you can preregister right here to have your free copy delivered to your inbox.

Also coming soon: a just-for-fun series of very short podcasts called First-World Rants, because big talk about small problems makes people happy, and happiness is at least as good for you as eating your veggies.

Finally, I’ve decided to introduce a weekly e-mail newsletter so you can catch up on all the happenings from the week in one place. The newsletter will replace the automatic emails many of you have been receiving in the past when I’ve published new posts. (Current subscribers, I hope you’ll be okay or even pleased with that change.) A newsletter format allows for more fun and creativity and will also prevent you from getting a ridiculous number of weekly emails as we roll out more frequent content over time.

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In addition to the reno, I have finally managed to eke out a new recipe for you. This savory and satisfying split pea daal was inspired by a recipe that caught my eye a couple of months ago on one of my old-favorite blogs, Kalyn’s Kitchen. We’ve been crazy-obsessed with split peas and lentils this winter, and I say that with barely a note of hyperbole. At least once a week, including at this very moment, I’ve got a pot of Layla’s soup on the stove. And at least once a week I’ve been simmering a ginger, garlic, lemon, and spice-infused pot of yellow split peas. I’ve been riffing and riffing, and I think I can finally call this version my own, as much as a recipe can ever really be. I’ve added lots of aromatic and health-promoting spices like cumin, cardamom, turmeric, and paprika. Though this dish doesn’t claim any particular ethnic roots, I do believe it’s from Delicioustan. (Oh my dear lord, what the hell is wrong with me?)

We like to make this dish the centerpiece of a meal with some brown basmati rice and a big salad, but it could just as easily nestle into a larger meal, the way it would in a more traditional Indian dinner.

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And finally, it’s time to announce the five winners of Monica Bhide‘s In Conversation with Exceptional Women. As always, your thoughtful comments inspired the bejeezus out of me. Where do you people come from? And the winners arrrrreeee:

  • Jill, commenter #4
  • Erica, commenter #6
  • Kankana, commenter #9
  • Luana, commenter #11
  • Anja, commenter #15

Congratulations, all. Check your inboxes in the next day or two for an email from Amazon with a download link.


  • I love the new digs! Congrats on all the new stuff happening too!ReplyCancel

  • Oh yum! I have had something like this… maybe this is what it was. I was at a potluck party and never found out what exactly the dish was, but it sounds very similar to this. I’ll have to try this recipe and find out!ReplyCancel

  • So glad you enjoyed the recipe, and your blog looks just amazing. Really like the new look.ReplyCancel

  • I absolutely adore your new design. It’s cool, quiet, subdued, classy. Let’s think of more adjectives: sophisticated, modern, and tranquil.

    Congratulations on all the new offerings. Three cheers for innovation and pushing the needle forward. Delicioustan indeed.ReplyCancel

  • Congrats on all the new and exciting stuff coming up….
    I absolutely adore your new look!! Love love your LOGO..
    Beautiful!!!ReplyCancel

  • Loving the new looks! Congrats on all your hard work — well done! :)ReplyCancel

  • I really like the new design. The recipe looks good too. We have also been eating our fair share of lentils, but this is a flavor combination we haven’t tried. Thanks for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • So… first of all… I LOVE the new layout and design!!! So much so that I’ve discussed it with many friends (& family members)…
    Second… YAY!!! I won! Can’t wait to get reading!!!
    and
    Third… I can’t wait to try this recipe!!! Sounds right up our alley! Yum!
    and
    last but not least… love the idea of a newsletter! & can’t wait for April for your “Getting Started Guide”

    :o)ReplyCancel

  • Thank you kindly, everyone!ReplyCancel

  • fastronomique

    This is such a fantastic recipe. I was once a nanny for a family from Chennai, so I’m pretty picky about da’al, and this is delicious. My local Indian grocer carries a pretty decent frozen version of paratha, so I served this as an appetizer alongside those. I used actual Indian coriander from World Spice Merchants (http://www.worldspice.com/spices/coriander-seed-indian) in mine, and I really think it makes all the difference. The Indian variety is very nuanced and has this citrus-y top note that really plays off that lemon and ginger. I get all of my cumin from WSM, too… as with anything, freshness really pays off- but most especially in Indian cooking! PS: Love the new look, too!ReplyCancel

  • Your mail made my day a lot brighter today :) Reading the book now and totally in love with it!

    As for the new look .. I LOVE IT. Neat and simple .. exactly how I like it :)ReplyCancel

  • anja

    hi carolyn, don`t know if you got my mail, so thanks again here for the great book which is a pleasure to read. have a good weekend!best from berlin, anjaReplyCancel

  • Hey there,
    It’s been a while since I visited your site. Beautiful redesign — I look forward to your podcasts and future posts. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • so delicious!I was at a potluck party and never found out what exactly the dish was,This is an exceptional content, and I can agree with what was written here?http://www.monsterbydreheadphones.us/ ?. I will be back to check out more of your articles soon. Thanks? but it sounds very similar to this.ReplyCancel

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