This recipe is pretty much a clone of the traditional dhal recipe I shared with you a while back, except this one we’ll be using lentils along with the yellow split peas. I still recall our grandmother making this when we were kids and eating it as we would soup. Last week I was going though the menu of a local Caribbean restaurant when I noticed they had dhal on their menu. Sold by the bowl-full (small $4.50 and large $9… imagine that). Right away I was taken back to those days when we lined up in my grandmother’s kitchen with bowl in hand, jostling with my cousins for the first serving. I just had to make some – the craving was on.
I didn’t follow my grandmother’s recipe, as she would use geera (cumin) somewhere along the line of cooking, but I’m not a huge fan of that spice so I tend to avoid it when I can.
1 cup yellow split peas
1 cup lentils
4 cloves of garlic diced (divided)
3/4 teaspoon salt * see note below
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 small onion sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 hot pepper (I used habanero – use whatever you like)
8 cups water * see note below
3 tablespoon vegetable oil (I like using olive oil for it’s sort of nutty taste)
– It’s easier to add more salt if necessary than remove excess salt. So at the end, do taste to see if there’s enough to your liking. It took me a few tries of making this before I got the salt just right. I added too much at the start and had to work with salty dhal. So take my advice and start with a little and add accordingly. BTW for some reason this goes a bit more salty when it cools down.
– I started with 8 cups of water, but if you find that it becomes overly thick, feel free to add more.
Sort out the split peas and lentils to ensure there’s no foreign particles between them (I’ve seen twigs and pebbles at times), then give it a good wash with cool water and drain. Also get the other ingredients ready.
In a large pot, put the water to heat and when it comes to a boil, add everything except 1/2 the garlic and the oil (including the split peas and lentils). Bring back up to a boil, then lower to the most gentle simmer you can get. Now place the lid on the pot slightly ajar and allow this to cook for about 80 minuets or until the split peas are tender and starts to dissolve. If you have a pressure cooker, this will only take about 15 minutes or so.
You will be required to stir occasionally and do remove any sort of build up which may float to the top of the pot.
After the 80 minutes both the lentils and split peas should be tender but still keeping it’s shape. We’ll now use a wire whisk or swizzle stick as you’ll see in the picture below and give it a good whisk. This will break down most of the peas and give the dhal and nice thick consistency. I’m sure you can use one of those electric submersion blender, but try not to overwork it r risk having a sort of frothy final dish (see note above regarding water)
Turn off the heat from the dhal and in a small frying pan heat the olive oil, then add the remaining sliced of garlic. Allow this to cook for a couple minutes, until you start seeing the edges of the garlic start to go a dark brown.
This final step you must show some caution as we’ll be adding that hot oil to the pot with the split peas and lentils that we cooked down. I usually use the lid of the pot as a shield when pouring in the heated oil/garlic mixture to the pot. So with one hand I have the lid protecting my body and the other, the frying pan with the oil. Pour and then give the entire pot a good stir. now check to see if there’s enough salt to your liking.
This will be enough for about 4 people if you’re drinking it as a soup, but if you’re having it with rice and something else (like curry chicken or tomato choka), you’ll have enough for about 6-8 people. I usually freeze portions in freezer containers and heat them up the next time I have a craving. So far I’ve had them last in excess of a month in the freezer. When it’s time to reheat, I free it from the container add a little water to a pot and put it on a very gentle heat to thaw. I guess you could also use the microwave.
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