In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Lentils And Split Peas Dhal.

trini dhal recipe (9)

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.

You’ll Need…

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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

Before you go I’d love for you to leave me a comment below.. it’s appreciated (even if it’s just to say hello). Remember  you can always connect with us on faceBook and watch the cooking videos on our Caribbean Cooking Channel.

Happy Cooking


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  1. Pat
    February 2, 2017 / 9:53 am

    Great Chris what do you think of putting in a crockpot? Early in the morning and testing for softness of the peas. As we say chunka the Dahl.

  2. Gary Mortlock
    December 13, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    I too love your recipes. One of favourites is curry chicken with kidney beans. I always serve over jasmine rice.

  3. October 16, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    i have tried several of your recipies and haven’t been disappointed yet. you are an amazing chef. will try this one as i do all the cooking and the wife loves caribbean cooking. so thank you and keep them coming.

  4. Ingrid Carter
    August 19, 2016 / 6:51 am

    Hi Chris.

    I am so excited to try this combo never thought about. Great idea to go with some salt fish I bought tonight. Definitely will be doing so today. I tried your dhal puri recipe and it was great. Thanks a million.Happy Friday and stay bless.

  5. Catherine Wong
    May 17, 2016 / 7:35 pm

    Thank you Chris. I have been looking for this recipe for so long and just could not find one as plain and easy as you have explained. I had the split peas waiting to make some but I did not know that I would need the lentils as well. Unlike you though, I think I am going to add a dash of the cumin to the pot.

    Thanks again, I can always depend on you.

  6. Ralphie
    January 31, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    Thank you Chris,
    New Yorks got your back bro, ONE!

  7. insha
    May 26, 2015 / 7:22 pm

    hi Cris,
    thanks for all your “wicked wicked” recipes.
    have you ever had peas dhal,i have looking for a recipe for it, i remember the old lady used to make this and it was with a green peas and it came out more like a curry, you boy longing to have this peas dhal
    take care and keep up the great work

    • admin
      May 26, 2015 / 9:53 pm

      I believe my grandmother on my moms side used to make something very similar to what you’re speaking about. I’ll have to ask my mom.

  8. May 16, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    My mom cooked dhal with rice and salt fish stewed, it was very delicious.

  9. Michelle chan
    August 30, 2014 / 5:34 pm

    Why do you heat and cook the oil and garlic at the end instead of starting with it and adding the rest of the ingredients in? I was just wondering if there was a particular reason.

    Love your recipes, by the way. 🙂

  10. Ramona Hansraj
    May 4, 2014 / 10:51 pm

    Great idea Chris I never tried that before. I will surely try that soon. Yes I also boil my dhal and freeze them they stay really great for months. I use dhal regularly so I do a a whole lot. It helps to have it ready just put some water in the put and put in the frozen dhal and leave it on slow heat then I chunka it:)Thanks so much again.

  11. Marjorie
    March 8, 2014 / 9:01 pm

    I’ll be trying it. Love both peas.

  12. February 9, 2014 / 3:42 pm

    I will try adding the lentils. Interesting

  13. Steve Rampat
    January 29, 2014 / 10:47 am

    Mouth watering dish love to eat with rice and sardines.

  14. Lorna
    January 17, 2014 / 2:05 pm

    I never thought of mixing both types of peas. I made these soups, but separately. I am definitely going to try. Thanks

  15. Virendra Ramcharan
    January 15, 2014 / 1:59 pm

    You can try burning whole great with the garlic in the oil

  16. Virendra Ramcharan
    January 15, 2014 / 1:56 pm

    This dual with rice tastes real good with curry vegetables or chicken

  17. Debbi the Registered Dietitian
    November 24, 2013 / 7:11 pm

    Chris every time you give us a recipe it is like a gift… a precious gem! The title is like the fancy paper wrapping on the gift!

    What should we eat this dhal with? Other than rice I mean.

    Thank you for the last 2 years of CaribbeanPot. I love my e-cookbook.


    • julie
      May 16, 2015 / 5:11 pm

      My mom cooked dhal with rice and salt fish stewed. It was so delicious.

  18. Helen
    April 4, 2013 / 2:44 pm

    This is quite an interesting recipe. I have never heard of or eaten something like this combined and I'm Trinidadian. I love dhal, its my favourite peas. But to add lentils to it. I'll have to try it to be convinced.

  19. Chrissy
    March 17, 2013 / 11:04 am

    Thought it would be a good idea to cook lentils Caribbean style but did not have all the ingredients. Since it will be my first time when I do cook it let you know how it taste. Thanks for the breakdown menu guide. Bye Chrissy.

  20. Marion de Castro
    March 15, 2013 / 10:25 am

    Chris I never made it with lentils i will be trying it soon.

  21. John
    March 2, 2013 / 11:41 pm

    Thanks Chris for this recipe. Just made a pot but made a bit of a change. Added a small piece of pigtail to the peas and added those delicious cornmeal dumplings at the end. Tastes wonderful and will be great on this cold night.

  22. Janelle
    February 9, 2013 / 6:46 am

    snowing here in England again, this dish is ideal. Hey Chris you got anything that will help with mi carnival blues?! I doh get chicken foot or anything like that so souse is out!

  23. Chrissy
    January 25, 2013 / 2:37 pm

    I logged onto ur website for a different recipe but since it is not a typical Caribbean dish never found it. Glad I found this because I was going to use an Indian recipe but nice to know we have our own twist on it. Will let you know how I got on

  24. suzette baptiste
    January 12, 2012 / 7:18 pm

    THANK YOU CHRIS for helping us to enhance our dinners with all these wonderful recipies. Tonight you saved my cooking with this dhal recipie. I truely appreciate your time and the effort you give to the world at large. A million THANKS.

    • Gary
      January 16, 2012 / 9:30 pm

      Just found your site Chris and love it. Lived in Guyana in the late 1960's and married a Guyanese girl! I do most of the cooking now–although I don't even attempt paratha roti or dal puri–that's her specialty! I use red lentils (masoor) for dal although use channa dal or yellow split peas at times too. Also add onions when we boil the peas. When we "chaunka" the dal with garlic–as you do–and add the cumin (geera) at that time so both fry together. Add to the dal, and close the lid immediately. We often add carrots when we start boiling the peas and some spinach at the end. Dal is wonderful stuff!


  25. marle
    November 30, 2011 / 3:05 pm

    Hi Chris,
    There is something I do not understand. When I cook yellow split peas it does take the 80 minutes you put for this recipe, but for the dhalpuri Roti you explained that the peas are to be cooked only 20-25 minutes. Am I understanding it right, are these peas not to be fully cooked? Thanks for all the great recipes, I am a big fan.

  26. Jizell
    September 28, 2011 / 2:10 pm

    Going to try this when I reach home and will add some dumplings.

  27. Rain
    September 17, 2011 / 11:03 pm

    Thanks for your mouth watering recipes, now i don't have to scratch my head everytime I try to think of what to cook for my husband…which is a Trini BTW : ))

  28. August 11, 2011 / 7:12 pm

    This feeds my soul.

  29. Irma
    July 14, 2011 / 3:11 pm

    Hi It looks tempting I love soups so I will try it instead of something heavy in the evening this will do me just fine……….thanks

  30. Beverley
    May 11, 2011 / 8:01 am

    Hi could you please tell me how much a cup measurement is in ounces..Mother-in -law not to well soup sounds great…thanks

  31. Andy Sharp
    May 10, 2011 / 4:37 pm

    Gotcha Chris.
    I'm away to the kitchen. But I've lost a buddy's Buttered Garlic Nan recipe to go with it… blast!

  32. Edtricia
    May 10, 2011 / 3:59 pm

    The oil in d pot looks like it has much more that three tablespoons. Can't wait to try this recipe though!

    • Chris
      May 10, 2011 / 4:27 pm

      The diameter on that frying pan is only about 2.5 inches. So it gives the illusion that there's much more oil. That's a close-up pic.

      • Edtricia
        May 10, 2011 / 8:03 pm

        Ooohhh! Thanks for clearing that up

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