This island boy luv me some dhal.. that rich thick soup packed with tropical flavors, but made with very simple and cheap ingredients. Great on it’s own (cup of dhal) or as a side to rice and curry dishes. Dhal is very comforting and so simple to make. Here’s my take on this iconic dish with added spinach and kale, instead of the traditional use of “poi bhagi’ aka Malabar Spinach. Basically I’m using ingredients which are readily available to me here in Canada.
4 cups yellow split peas
1 tablespoon turmeric
12-14 cups water
3/4 tablespoon salt (adjust)
1/2 medium onion (diced)
8-10 cloves garlic (divided)
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 cups baby spinach
2-3 cups baby kale
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Important! Please go though the full list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your #Vegan #GlutenFree and/or Vegetarian dietary requirements. If you find that it gets too thick, feel free to add a bit more water. No, don’t use stock as it will ruin (IMHO) the flavor.
Bring the water to a boil in a LARGE pot. As this happens, it would be a great time to wash the split peas (watch the video below). Basically all you’re doing is rinsing the peas in cool water, while using your hands/fingers to massage the grains. This will create cloudy water.. drain and repeat until this water runs clear.
As the water comes to a full boil, add the washed split peas and turmeric and bring back up to a boil. Then skim off any frothy stuff at the top and discard. After-which you can add the onion, 1/2 the garlic, black pepper, salt and scotch bonnet pepper. (use as much spicy pepper as you can handle and remember to wash your hands with soap and water immediately after)
Reduce to a simmer and let that cook for about an hour and twenty minutes or until the peas are tender and start falling apart. It’s now time to make sure the dhal is smooth. I used a wooden swizzle stick to achieve this. Feel free to use a wire whisk or electric immersion blender. If using the blender may I suggest that you “pulse” as if it goes continuous it will add too much air to the dhal and it will take on a frothy texture.
Now ad the washed (and drained) baby kale and spinach to the pot and stir well. The residual heat in the pot will be enough to fully cook the greens. Take the pot of the stove and set aside.
In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil (high heat) then go in with the remaining garlic and the cumin seeds. Cook until almost burnt.. then pour over the dhal (this is called “chunkay). This step will add a lovely layer of further flavor. You MUST do this or your dhal will be lame. Stir well to incorporate everything.
Taste for salt and adjust… ENJOY!
I forgot to mention, this is a HUGE pot of Dhal, so I usually freeze the rest for use later in the week when I need my next hit of Split Peas Dhal. If you do freeze, reheat on a very low heat on the stove top.. add a bit of water to the pot.
Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2