Yellow Split-Pea Dahl with Kale

Sue and I planned to make an Indian dinner, no little feat. Our menu consisted of Dahl, Palak Paneer and Butter Tofu (mock butter chicken). We also drank some lovely wine from France to accompany. Over the next couple of days I’ll be publishing the rest of the recipes. Since Dahl takes the longest to cook, it should be started first so that is the post I completed first.

Dahl is pretty much lentil stew. It’s normally a side dish in North America but over rice it’s a complete meal (protein,carbs, fat, veg) and a staple in an Indian kitchen. Dahl is extremely nourishing, comforting, easy to make and cheeeeeaaap. I lived off dahl once I was introduced to it by Saami while living with him an surviving Art school. We usually made orange dahl which still a staple in my house to throw into soup and stews as they cook up quick. I think my favorite though is yellow split peas which take much longer to cook but they have a heartier texture. This recipe is scaled down a lot as you don’t really cook a small amount of dahl because it’s time consuming and even better the next day. This recipe suits about 4 people as a side.

Yellow-Split Pea Dahl with Kale

  • 2 cups of yellow lentils, soaked for at least an hour and rinsed well
  • 1-2 tbp olive oil
  • 2 medium onion, set one aside
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic (4 for the first stage, 2 for the last)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 chili (I usually use jalepenos but the green thai chilis are hotter and also delicious in this recipe)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1+ 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • good quality hot curry paste (I used about 1 tbs but adjust for taste and heat)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • water
  • 3-4 cups of kale roughly chopped, bite size pieces

In a medium bowl, wash and soak lentils for at least 1 hour.
Dice onions, garlic and chili. Wash and chop kale and set a side. Reserve 1 onion and 2 cloves of garlic for the dahl dressing.
In a medium-large pot heat a few tsp of oil over medium heat.  Add cumin seeds, a few peppercorns and toast until the seeds began to pop. Add onions and turmeric and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add bay leaf, tomatoes, curry paste, washed and drained lentils. Just cover with water and bring to a boil. Once lentils are boiling reduce to medium again. They take about and hour to cook but stir and check every 5-10 minutes. Every time the water boils down, add another cup or so to cover until well cooked.
In a small frying pan heat oil over medium and fry reserved onions and garlic. You want to slowly cook them until they are brown and carmelized about 10-12 minutes.
Once lentils are just about cooked add kale. Turn heat down to minimum and left stand until ready to serve.  The Kale is hearty but really only take 5 minutes to cook through. Once the kale is cooked,  add carmelized onion and garlic mixture with any oil left in the pan and mix well.  You can make Dahl well in advance as it’s one of those dishes that is definately better the longer it sits. Serve over brown or basmati rice, with or without naan or chapati.

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