tadka dal

Yellow Split Pea Dal with Fenugreek

This is one of those meals that doesn’t last very long in our house. When there’s zero conversation at the dinner table because everyone is so busy enjoying their food and scraping their bowls clean. If you’ve read our blog before you probably know that dal is one of our favourite things to cook, especially during this time of year when our bodies crave the warmth of spices. We normally have a couple dals on rotation (like a Yellow Dal with Curry Leaves or Mung Bean Dal ), but right now this yellow split pea version has been the household favourite.

Yellow Split Pea Dal with Fenugreek

The combination of flavours and texture of this dal is so delicious and comforting. We mash up the split peas after cooking, which creates such a creamy consistency. Fenugreek is one of our favourite spices - used correctly it has a somewhat bitter sweet, aromatic taste, which pairs really well with the other spices & coconut milk. Also, we add a tarka (tadka) at the end to add an extra burst of flavour. For those who don’t know, tarka is the tempering of ingredients such as whole or ground spices, tomatoes, onions, garlic etc in oil, added at the end of the cooking process.

Not only do the yellow split peas have such a tasty flavour, but they’re also really nutritious! They’re very high in fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion, and makes us feel more satisfied after a meal. They’re also rich in vitamins like B1, B5, folate, zinc, potassium and magnesium. We recommend buying organic legumes/lentils whenever it’s available to you & thoroughly rinse your peas before cooking.

Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek

for the dal:
2 cups dried yellow split peas
5.5 cups water
2 medium sized onions, chopped finely
1 can coconut milk, refrigerated so that fat separates from water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1.5 teaspoons mustard seeds
1.5 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2-5 dried kashmiri chili, seeds removed (optional)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons curry powder (we use an aromatic store-bought one for this recipe)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/3 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
Small bunch of fresh coriander (optional)
Dry fenugreek leaves (optional)

for the tarka (final tempering):
1.5 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
1.5 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tablespoons coconut oil

1. Rinse and drain the split peas 3-4 times in cold water.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the chillies, mustard and fenugreek seeds and stir fry for 30 seconds.
3. Add the finely chopped onions and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes until they are a nice dark gold colour, keep stirring. You can add a little more coconut oil if necessary.
4. Add a tablespoon of water to cool the pan, then add the curry powder, turmeric, paprika, asafoetida and black pepper. cook for 30 seconds.
5. Add the drained split peas and 5.5 cups of water, mix well and bring the the boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are completely soft (45-60 mins), add a little more water while cooking if you need to.
6. When the lentils are well cooked, turn off the heat and mash them a little with a spoon. You should have quite a thick consistency at this point.
7. Make the tarka. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small frying pan and then fry all the ingredients for the tarka on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic, it should be a light gold colour. Add this mixture to the pan with the lentils and mix well to combine.
8. Finally add all of the cream from the can of coconut milk and about half of the coconut water. Mix well. If you want to you can add all of the coconut water but we generally prefer this dal on the thicker side. It may depend on the consistency you had already or how you like your lentils! If not, keep the rest in the fridge for a smoothie!
9. Finish with chopped coriander and a couple of pinches of dried fenugreek leaves (if you have them) and enjoy with rice or chapattis. We love ours with these Millet Flatbreads .

What’s your favourite type of dal?
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