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This savory, satisfying yellow split pea dahl works equally well as the centerpiece of a simple meal or a component of a larger one. Don’t miss it.

yellow split pea dahl in a bowl with a lemon wedge and a napkin
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Why we love this recipe

Split peas are such an amenable ingredient that I sometimes forget about them entirely. That’s never a good idea. They’re comforting and satisfying and packed with unimpeachable nutrition.

In this riff on dahl, they get a savory vibe studded with ginger, garlic, lemon, and lots of cozy spices like cumin, cardamom, turmeric, and paprika. This recipe works beautifully as a main dish (with some simply cooked basmati rice and a vegetable), or as part of a more elaborate meal.

I first published this recipe here way back in 2012, inspired by Kalyn’s Kitchen. I’ve since updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • This recipe uses yellow split peas/matar dal (Pisum sativum), which are generally easy to find in U.S. grocery stores and don’t need to be soaked. They’re a great source of protein and complex carbs. Note that, though they look similar, they’re a different crop from split pigeon peas/toor dal (Cajanus cajan).
  • Safflower oil is my high-smoke-point, neutral-tasting vegetable oil of choice. You can substitute another oil that has similar properties, such as canola, sunflower, peanut, corn, or vegetable oil blend.
  • I haven’t pictured water here, but you’ll need 5 cups, as directed in the recipe card below.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a great batch of split pea dahl. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First you’ll cook the aromatics and seasonings in the oil.
  2. Add the split peas and the water, along with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer, and cover. Cook for about an hour, until split peas are tender.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. That’s it!
Spiced Split Pea Dal with Lemon and Ginger 2 780 _ Umami Girl

Expert tips and FAQs

Got any tips for buying split peas?

Try to buy dried beans, peas, and lentils from stores that turn them over fairly quickly. Older dried legumes don’t cook as quickly or — more important — as evenly as fresher ones.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

You definitely can. Dahl keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for a year. The flavors will only improve as they have a chance to blend.

More favorite comforting legumes

yellow split pea dahl in a pan

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yellow split pea dahl in a bowl with a lemon wedge and a napkin
4.42 from 24 votes

Yellow Split Pea Dahl

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This savory, satisfying split pea dahl works equally well as the centerpiece of a simple meal or a component of a larger one. Don't miss it.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6 as a main dish
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Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) safflower oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, about 25 grams, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 ¾ cups (500 grams) yellow split peas
  • 5 cups 1(200 ml) water
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about one lemon)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a heavy 5-quart pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion along with about 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric and cook, stirring constantly, for 60 seconds.
  • Add the split peas, the remaining salt, pepper, and water. Give it all a good stir.
  • Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover the pot.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until split peas are very tender and most have lost their defined shape, about an hour.
  • Stir in lemon juice and cilantro.

Notes

  1. This recipe uses yellow split peas/matar dal (Pisum sativum), which are generally easy to find in U.S. grocery stores and don't need to be soaked. They're a great source of protein and complex carbs. Note that, though they look similar, they're a different crop from split pigeon peas/toor dal (Cajanus cajan).
  2. Safflower oil is my high-smoke-point, neutral-tasting vegetable oil of choice. You can substitute another oil that has similar properties, such as canola, sunflower, peanut, corn, or vegetable oil blend.
  3. Dahl keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for a year. The flavors will only improve as they have a chance to blend.
Inspired by Kalyn's Kitchen.

Nutrition

Calories: 357kcal, Carbohydrates: 58.3g, Protein: 20.7g, Fat: 5.9g, Fiber: 22.2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Beans + Lentils
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.42 from 24 votes (24 ratings without comment)

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14 Comments

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

  2. 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, anja

  3. 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 🙂