Spiced Split Pea Dal with Lemon and Ginger
We like to make this savory, satisfying yellow split pea dal 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.
Try to buy dried beans 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.
Split pea dal straight from Delicioustan
This savory and satisfying split pea dal 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?)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- One 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 500 g (2 3/4 cups) yellow split peas
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat the oil in a heavy 5-quart pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric and cook, stirring constantly, for 90 seconds.
- Add the split peas and the salt and pepper along with 5 cups water, and give it all a good stir.
- Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover the pot.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until split peas are very tender and have lost their defined shape, about an hour.
- Stir in lemon juice and zest and cilantro.
- Serve as a main dish with rice and leafy greens or as an accompaniment to a larger meal (à la Indian dal).
Inspired by Kalyn's Kitchen.