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Yellow Split Pea Dal

Dal is a staple of Indian home cooking and a favourite of Executive Chef, Gelf Alderson. This recipe is very adaptable and can be altered to suit your store cupboard.


Rinse the split peas under cold water.

Boil the peas in around a litre of water with the cinnamon, turmeric, chilli and half the ginger for about 45 minutes until the peas are soft.

When the peas have around 25 minutes of cooking time left, heat the oil in another pan and add the onion and remaining ginger, frying until soft.

Add the garlic, coriander, cumin and garam masala and continue to fry gently for another 2 minutes.

Once fragrant, add the passata and a splash of water and bring up to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the spice mix and lemon juice to the split peas and season to taste.

Cook for a further 10 minutes.

Remove the cinnamon stick and chilli and finish with freshly chopped coriander and mint.

To Serve

Serve with some herby barley, flat breads and a dollop of fresh yoghurt.

Alternatively, stuff into warm pittas and eat on the go


If you don’t have the individual spices substitute a tbsp of curry powder.

This dal is delicious with a big handful of baby spinach or chopped kale stirred through until wilted.

Instead of yellow split peas, try red lentils, fava beans or ready cooked chickpeas instead altering the cooking time accordingly. (If using chickpeas, make sure you drain the excess water off once the peas have been cooked with the cinnamon, ginger, chilli and turmeric.)

Always keep any leftovers, you can enjoy them again the next day reheated as they are, or reheat with some veg stock, blend into a smooth soup (adding veg stock until the right constancy) and finish with a splash of cream and chopped fresh coriander

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250g yellow split peas

1L water

1 stick of cinnamon

1 tsp turmeric

1 mild red chilli (split in 2)

1 tbsp oil, vegetable or rapeseed.

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp garam masala

100g passata

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander and mint to serve.

This recipe is taken from...

Executive Head Chef Gelf Alderson

Gelf is responsible for creating the inspiring food we offer at River Cottage HQ and our River Cottage Kitchens, using food that is farmed locally, sourced from our kitchen garden, or foraged from the surrounding area.