Maybe I Can Make This Better Yellow Split Pea Dahl

This recipe ( isn’t quite a failure, but I usually really like dahl.  So what went wrong?  The Kooking Kleric went wrong, that’s what.  When composing your special entree golem, using the right ingredients is so important that if you don’t you could end up with a puddle of yellow-brown stuff (or Cthulhu) instead of what you expected.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit some of the substitutions I made, but let others learn from my mistakes (or missing limbs of my pride).

  • I ran out of cumin, so compensated with more garam masala — mistake.
  • I used canned chili peppers which, unbeknownst to me, had been rendered impotent — mistake.
  • The recipe did not call for onion — and it would be much improved by one.
  • It is not a crime to use salt to liven things up — and I should have.

So here is the recipe as it should be, at least according to this Kitchen Kleric.

  • 8 oz. yellow split peas  (soaked overnight — that’s 12 hours)
  • Dried chilli (or 1/8t cayenne pepper / chili powder)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice (maybe even 1T)
  • (1 tsp. salt)

Soak the split peas overnight. Boil them for one hour in fresh water (about 6 cups).  Drain and rinse.

If you have the right ingredients… Heat 1T (ish) Olive Oil in a small, heavy pan.  Add a small piece of chilli and fry (printed book says “until blackened”… not sure about that, so let’s say “very well”).  Add the cumin seeds and fry.  Add this mixture to the cooked split peas.  Also add the mustard, garam masala and turmeric.  Boil until the lentils are soft (about 30 minutes).  Add lemon juice.

But this is how I’m likely to make it… Add the mustard, garam masala, turmeric, red pepper (or chili powder), ground cumin, and salt to cooked peas.  Add just enough water to cover the lentils, but not more. Boil until the lentils are soft (about 30 minutes).  Add lemon juice.

I would try this again both with the right ingredients as well as my substitutions.


4 thoughts on “Maybe I Can Make This Better Yellow Split Pea Dahl

  1. I think I’m mis-reading this. You soak split peas overnight, then cook for one hour, then add spices, then cook an additional thirty minutes? And you don’t get glue?

    I soak whole peas, but not split. I cook split peas for maybe 30 minutes total. They’re plenty soft.

    What am I mis-reading here?

    • You are reading it right.

      I didn’t get glue — unless you consider near-squash-consistency to be glue. Some of the peas somehow survived the process and are still firm. It is a bit cooked down and does remind me of squash. However, I have read and heard that under-cooked split-peas can cause pretty bad gut issues.

      • I was just under the impression that the whole purpose of using split rather than whole dahl is to eliminate the need both for soaking, as well as for long cooking times. Very odd indeed.

    • What I should do is find the recipe for dahl that I normally use. This was an interesting change, but I don’t like it as much. The other one I really like and could eat it more often.

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