This dal is not only easy to make, but it’s fantastic year-round, and is a deliciously filling one-pot meal.
2 cups yellow split peas, rinsed and drained
About 6 to 7 1/2 cups water, divided*
28-oz can organic fire roasted tomatoes, pureed
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Hing (asafetida)
2 to 3 teaspoons fine sea salt, or to taste
1 bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, patted dry and chopped
In a large pot, combine the split peas and about 6 cups of the water. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, about 35 to 45 minutes or until the peas are tender. Stir occasionally as needed. Add a little more water as needed, if the mixture is too thick. Watch carefully towards the end of the cooking time, as the peas can stick to the bottom of the pot. When the peas are tender, add the pureed tomatoes, mixing well. You want everything to get kind of mashed together. Turn off the heat.
Once the peas are tender, heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the sesame oil, moving skillet so that you cover the bottom with the hot oil. Add the mustard seeds and cover, frying until they start to pop and get toasty, about 1 minute. Reduce heat if the seeds start to burn. Add the toasted mustard seeds to the cooked peas, stirring until mixed. Add the cumin, turmeric and hing, as well as additional water as needed (about 1 cup). Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings if needed.
Over medium heat, return the dhal to a gentle simmer, and cook another 5 minutes or until the flavors have had a little chance to meld. Remove from heat, stir in chopped cilantro and serve with cooked rice and lime pickle on the side.
*If cooking this in a pressure cooker, you may need less water. Cook the peas with 6 cups water, on high pressure, for 25 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally before proceeding with the recipe.
Tip: Once the dal has had a chance to sit, it will continue to thicken up (especially after refrigerating). Don’t worry! Simply thin with a little additional water as needed.