Indian Yellow Split Pea Curry with Tomatoes and Spices (Matar Dal)

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian Yellow Split Pea Curry with Tomatoes and Spices (Matar Dal)

As much as I enjoy cooking, even though it's just my husband and I residing here (and two cats, but they eat from a bag of rather expensive kibbles, and my best friend who comes over once a week to share dinner with a healthy appetite, but not for the cat food), it's enough some weeks just to keep up with dinner and I try to make enough so that my husband has food to take to work. I do not want him buying crap from his workplace as the options there are less than ideal. So, I usually make a more complex meal on the weekend, and throughout the week I go for faster options that usually employ staples I have on hand. As I always say, simplicity need not be boring and it can be downright delicious, especially if served up with a vegetable side and some rice or flat breads.

This split pea curry comes together in hardly any time at all, with little preparation. It's a dry curry and is ideal for serving over a hot bed of fresh cooked rice. Of course, you can add more water if you prefer, resulting in a soupier dish, but this version is one that is never a disappointment. For slight variation, use black-eyed peas instead. You really won't need to increase the soaking time, as black-eyed peas are best if you do not cook them until they are falling apart.

Indian Yellow Split Pea Curry with Tomatoes and Spices (Matar Dal)Indian Yellow Split Pea Curry with Tomatoes and Spices (Matar Dal)
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on May 15, 2018

Simple and light split pea curry simmered in a delectable spiced tomato sauce

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 to 25 minutes

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  • 3/4 cup dried yellow split peas (or channa dal)
  • 1 tablespoons ghee or oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 2 shallots, cut into thin strips or finely chopped
  • 2 red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • water as needed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • small handful of fresh parsley or cilantro, trimmed and chopped
  • Rinse the split peas and soak in enough water to cover for 5 hours or overnight if you split peas are have been around for a while. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes until the peas are tender. Drain and set aside.

  • Heat the ghee or oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the cumin seeds and mustard seeds, and stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the shallot and sauté for a few minutes to soften. Add the carrot, ginger and chilies and continue to stir for another few minutes. Stir in the paprika, turmeric, ground coriander, cayenne, asafetida, and fry for another minute until fragrant. Add the tomato and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the tomatoes begin to reduce and thicken.

  • Stir in 1/4 cup of water, add the split peas, and let simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring often. Add more water as desired.

  • Remove from heat and season with salt and garam masala, stir in the lemon juice, and serve hot with flat breads or fresh cooked rice and garnish the dish with fresh chopped parsley or cilantro. To reheat, add a bit more water and gently warm.

Makes 4 servings

Yellow Split Pea Curry

Other split dal dishes to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Indian-Style Split Pea Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings
Ash-e Anar (Persian Split Pea and Pomegranate Soup)
Split Pea and Vegetable Miso Soup with Seaweed and Dried Mushrooms
Lime-Flavored Rice with Roasted Yellow Split Peas

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Ein.Tierfreund said...

Missing the amount of ginger in the ingredients

Lisa Turner said...

Corrected. Thank you for pointing out that slight omission.