YELLOW SPLIT PEA DHAL WITH CUMIN AND GINGER

YELLOW SPLIT PEA DHAL WITH CUMIN AND GINGER

TIME: 45 MINUTES

YIELD: 8 SERVINGS

GF • V • VEG

In many dhal recipes, the beans or legumes are cooked with very little seasoning, then drizzled with a piquant homemade spice oil just before serving. You can vary the spice oil, called a tarka, to taste, adding any combination of chiles, spices, and allium that you like. Thinly sliced garlic and/or shallots or onions can replace the scallions here, and dried red chiles or a pinch of chile flakes can stand in for the fresh green chile. As for the spices, the options are as varied as your spice cabinet. Have fun changing the flavors to suit your taste and mood.

You’ll notice that I give a range for the amount of water; it depends upon how thick or thin you prefer your dhal. Five cups gives you a medium-thick, porridge-like dhal, while six cups will give you something soupier. Note that the dhal will continue to thicken up quite a lot as it sits. If it gets too thick, you can always add a little more hot water to thin it out. Dhal is forgiving that way.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound dried yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed

1½ teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste

1 bay leaf

¼ cup coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or peanut oil

4 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put the split peas into the pressure cooker along with the salt, bay leaf, and 5 to 6 cups of water, depending on how soupy you like your dhal (see headnote). Cover, and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. If the peas aren’t cooked through, cook on high pressure for 5 minutes, then release pressure manually.
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil until hot, and then add the scallion whites (save the greens for garnish), jalapeño, and ginger. Cook until everything turns golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Then add the cumin seeds, garam masala, and pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, until fragrant.
  3. To serve, spoon the split peas into bowls and top with some of the spice oil, the scallion greens, and a sprinkling of salt to taste.

COOK IT SLOW

Cook on high for 6 to 7 hours or low for 8 to 10 hours.

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