With Indian food being so popular it is quite easy to opt for a take-away or to eat out at an Indian restaurant, but cooking delicious Indian food can be quite easy and it lends itself very well to people who follow a vegetarian and vegan diet. This dhal recipe is not only easy, but also inexpensive since dried pulses tend to be quite economical. Most if not all of the ingredients can be found in any pantry or spice rack and if not, then it’s good to have them just in case! Dhals are wonderfully aromatic and full of warm flavours that any non-veggie will appreciate and enjoy. I don’t mind spicy food but other members of my household don’t so I tend to make food mild, however you can adapt this if you like your food spicy and add a green chilli sliced in half to the yellow split peas while they are cooking. This makes a great meal that all members of the family can enjoy.
- 250g yellow split peas
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 litre of water
- 1 dried cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
- 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 stick
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
- 1.5 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 200g tinned tomato sauce
- 3 tbsp chopped coriander
- Wash the split peas in a sieve under the tap and add to a large pan with 1 litre from a recently boiled kettle, the turmeric, cinnamon and half the ginger into slices. Bring to a medium simmer and cook for 45 – 50 minutes until the yellow split peas are soft but still have some bite to them. In the meantime you can proceed to make the sauce which is the base of flavour for the dhal.
- Finely dice the onion, garlic and ginger until they are ready to use.
- In another pan heat up the sunflower oil until it is quite hot and add the cumin seeds and fennel seeds (if you have them). These will start sizzling and as soon as you can smell the cumin it is time to add the onion and stir this in. This should only take 30 seconds to a minute, longer than that and the cumin can burn and taste bitter.
- Cook the onions until they are translucent, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few more minutes until these are soft.
- Add the tinned tomato sauce and 100ml of water to loosen the sauce. Stir and mix well.
- Add the garam masala and ground coriander and stir.
- Allow to simmer gently stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or so so all the flavours combine well.
- After 30 minutes of cooking, try the yellow split peas, these should still have some bite to them. Leave uncovered so that the liquid reduces and cook for another 15 minutes or so.
- Once the sauce and yellow split peas are ready, add the sauce to the pan with the peas and mix well.
- Add a good pinch of salt to taste and the chopped coriander.
- Simmer gently for another few minutes.
- Serve with rice and garnish with some more fresh chopped coriander.