In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Yellow Split Peas Dhal With Salted Pigtail.

Traditional Caribbean Dhal is something that’s close and dear to me, a dish which takes me back to being a lil fella on the islands. While mommy didn’t cook curry very often, the days after school when we’d come home to Rice, Dhal and Curry (you may say curried) Chicken, was something we (brother and sisters) all looked forward to. This is not that recipe, however it’s just as comforting and with pieces of leftover Sada Roti soaked in it – BOOM! My childhood right there.

12-15 cups water
2 1/2 cups yellow split peas (washed)
1 tablespoon turmeric (sorfran)
1 1/2 lbs salted pig tail (prepared)
1 medium onion (sliced)
10-12 cloves garlic (divided)
3 Bird’s Eye Peppers (optional)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt (adjust)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon geera seeds (cumin)

Notes! May I recommend that you follow along with the video below as much more about the recipe is discussed there, including why you must pre-boil the salted pig tail pieces prior to adding it to the dhal. If making this recipe gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your gluten free dietary requirements.

Prepare the Salted Pigtail Pieces. Basically get your butcher to cut the tails into 1 inch pieces, then after a good rinse you’ll place them in a deep pot covered with water and bring to a boil. Cook on a rolling boil for 40-50 minutes. Drian, rinse and set aside. This step will help to remove most of the salt it was cured in and to tenderize them a bit (they will be tough).

Add 12 cups of water in a soup pot on a high flame. As it comes to a boil add the washed yellow split peas along with the turmeric and stir well. Bring back to a boil.

On a rolling boil you will see foam accumulate at the top. Skim and remove. Then add the onion, 1/2 of the garlic, Bird’s Eye peppers (use any pepper you like or can source and in the amount you can handle) and black pepper. Do not add the salt yet (explained in the video).

When it comes to a boil reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the pieces of prepared salted pigtail and cook for 70 minutes or until the peas and pigtail pieces are tender. Stir every 15 minutes or so.

Along the way you will need to add more water. In my case it was a further 3-4 cups. Do keep in mind that this will yield a huge quantity of Dhal. I purposely make a big batch with the intention of freezing the leftovers. For those days I get a Dhal craving but don’t want to spend hours cooking.

At this point you’ll need to taste and add salt as needed (to your liking), then remove the pieces of salted pig tails (hopefully they are tender).

If you watch the video you’ll see me use a traditional wooden swizzle stick to break down the cooked peas to a smooth finish. If using a stick blender may I recommend you hit the pulse a few times to avoid creating foam, from going continuous. Add back the pieces of salted pig tail to the pot.

Heat the oil in a frying pan along with the remaining garlic (smashed) and geera (cumin) seeds. Yes you want the garlic to slightly burn and the oil to be smoking hot.

Being VERY careful, pour this mixture into the pot of dhal and stir well. In the video I explained the proper technique for this step, which is called “Chunkay”.

As a soup or a side to curry dishes, this Dhal is insanely delicious.

If you were to search Dhal in the search box above or visit the Recipe Index you’ll find 4-5 other versions of Caribbean style Dhal recipes… if pork is not your thing. If you wanted to add some Green Seasoning as it cooks, feel free to do so. A tablespoon will give it a lovely herbal undertone.

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