A creamy, warm and hearty meal of yellow split pea dal, flavored with a sauce of tomato, spices, and onion. Enjoy on its own, with rice, or with steamed potatoes and a side of fresh vegetables. Vegan and gluten-free.
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😋Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy to make – made from scratch, easy to find ingredients
- Extra flavorful – cooked in fragrant spices
- Ultra-comforting – so warming, perfect for cooler weather
- Nutritionally dense - filled with vegetables and healthy starches
- Delicious as leftovers - make a big batch for later
- Dietary suitable - this is a vegan dal that is oil free*, gluten free, nut free, soy free and corn free.
✔️Ingredients You’ll Need
Notes on some of the ingredients, the full list of ingredients can be found in the recipe card below.
Yellow split peas, known as dal, can be easily found in the dry food section where legumes and beans are found. Wash before using.
Tomato and brown onion are used in the sauce and should be finely diced.
Fresh ginger and garlic are used for flavoring the sauce, you can adjust the amount slightly to suit your taste.
Olive oil* this is optional, you can make this an oil-free dal. As per the video.
Turmeric powder a small amount goes a long way. It’s mild in flavor and gives a gorgeous golden hue. Don’t be tempted to add more as it can be bitter.
Cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds (affiliate link) are toasted to release the flavor and make this meal so aromatic. Both are generally found in your local supermarket.
Chili to add a little depth and heat. You can use any of your preferred small chili varieties or you can leave it out.
Garam masala only a small amount is needed. This blend of spice (affiliate link) can be found at your local supermarket.
Coriander aka cilantro will be split into two portions, one for stirring through the dal and the other as garnish.
🍛How To Make Yellow Split Pea Dal
There are two parts to the cooking method of this vegan dahl, which can be done simultaneously;
Cooking Split Peas
Add the yellow split peas, water, and salt to a large pot and bring to a bowl on high heat.
Turn heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes without the lid. You will need to skim off the froth a few times.
Around the 40 minute mark, stir in turmeric powder, garam masala, and half of the chopped coriander (cilantro).
Check the split peas every so often and give them a stir, if you feel it could do with a little bit more water, add some.
Spiced Tomato and Onion Sauce
Dry toasting cumin and fenugreek seeds
Sweating onion without oil with the seeds
In a frypan/skillet over med-high, add optional oil, cumin, and fenugreek seeds. Heat up until the aroma is released, by stirring.
If using oil, add the diced onion and sweat until they are translucent.
If you’re not using oil, add 4 tablespoons of water with onion and sweat until they are translucent and start to change color.
Stir in the garlic and ginger and then add the diced tomatoes and cook them down for about 15-20 minutes on medium heat.
Combining The Sauce and Dal
Once the dal is completely cooked, it should be goopy, add the aromatic sauce to it and stir through thoroughly. Taste to see if you'd like to adjust the salt.
⭐ Pro Tips
Prepare your food before getting onto the cooking part of this dal recipe.
You can macerate the dal once it is cooked by using a masher. This will help break it up. However, I find that this isn't necessary as it is well cooked.
Storage - this dal recipe is also perfect as leftovers, I find the flavor to be better infused the next day. Store in an air-tight container in your fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
As the dal cools down, it will thicken up considerably.
Leafy greens can be added, such as chopped kale or spinach. Stir them through the dal in the last five minutes of cooking.
Dal is the Indian term for legumes and pulses - peas, chickpeas, beans etcetera. Spelling variations can include dahl, dhal and dal.
Once portioned, heat up as desired and add a few spoonfuls of water (as it will be quite thick), stir through until the desired consistency is reached.
Serve with freshly chopped coriander/cilantro, chili and enjoy with a side of rice, steam potato or bread, and fresh salad.
If you're in the mood for a hearty curry try this easy spinach chickpea curry or my simple and cozy barley porridge or my super flavorful curried mung beans.
You might be interested in the below lentil or bulgur recipes.
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Delicious Yellow Split Pea Dal
Yellow Split Peas Dal
- 2 cups yellow split pea dal
- 6 cups Water 5 cups for cooking dal, one as a spare to adjust consistency
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt adjusted to taste
- ½ teaspoon Garam masala
- 1 handful Coriander roughly chopped
Tomato and Onion Sauce
- 1 medium Onion finely diced
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- ¾ teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
- 2-3 medium Tomatoes chopped small
- 2½ centimeters Fresh ginger finely chopped
- 4-5 cloves Garlic crushed
- 4-8 tablespoons Water use the amount needed for sweating onions if not using oil
- 1 handful Coriander Cilantro. Roughly chopped.
- 1 small Red chilli chopped - optional
Yellow Split Pea
- Add the yellow split peas, water and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Turn heat down to medium - low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes without the lid. You will need to skim off the froth a couple of times. Around the 40 minute mark, stir in turmeric powder, garam masala and half of the chopped coriander (cilantro).
- In a frypan/skillet over med-high, add optional 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (just leave out if not using oil), and cumin and fenugreek seeds. Heat up until the aroma is released, by stirring. If using oil, add the diced onion and sweat until they are translucent. If you’re not using oil, add 4 tablespoons of water with onion and sweat until they are translucent and start to change color.Stir in the garlic and ginger and then add the diced tomatoes and cook them down for about 15-20 minutes on medium heat. You may need to add more tablespoons of water.
- Once the dal is completely cooked, it should be goopy, add the aromatic sauce to the yellow split peas dal and stir through thoroughly. Taste to see if you'd like to adjust the salt. Serve warm.
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.
Mariam from Recipe 52, also has a lovely masoor dal recipe.
For more lentil inspiration, try Emese and Nandi's Quick Broccoli and Lentil Story Fry. Or for more delish Indian recipes, try South Indian Chana Masala for Chana Puri.
I’ve made this recipe many times but am I crazy or did it change? The tomatoes used to be added to the split peas not the spice mixture. There were also more spices like curry leaves and I believe curry powder. I also don’t remember sautéing the onions in with he spices. Is there any way to get the original recipe? Apologies if I’m confused. Thank you
So sorry for the confusion. Yes there was an update, hopefully the following can assist;
- 2 bay leaves and 1 tablespoon of curry powder can be added to cooking the yellow split peas stage
Previously, the sauce was made (onion and tomato) and then the dal was cooked on top.
Hope this helps.
I made this tonight and it was a perfect meal for a cold, rainy winter night. Bookmarking it for later!
So glad you enjoy this soup. I can never get enough of it.
Hi, I book marked this recipe as absolutley loved it! I thought it had cardamom in it?! or as an option? maybe I'm mistaken but we'll see how it tastes very soon! thanks for your lovely recipes!