11 February 2019 Lorraine 0Comment
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Yellow Dal is comfort food at its best, it is a simple dish but a staple in most Indian homes. Growing up my mum always cooked us Yellow Dal with Rice and it something we devoured. I’m so glad I’ve introduced this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe to my kids. On our meat-free days my boys are content with a bowl of steaming rice and dal.

The yellow split peas is boiled until it’s soft and it is then cooked with a variety of spices. The tempering of the spices is what takes the dal to a whole new level. My favourite way to serve this dish is with rice but you can have it with your favourite bread too.

Everyone has their own method of cooking this dish. I remember my mum spending hours tempering her spices and creating a delicious mix to add to her dal. I must admit I am a lazy cook, for me it’s the easy way out as long as my food still tastes delicious without the added effort I am happy. It is about the flavour after all, right?

We call it yellow dal due to the fact that turmeric is added to it, this is what gives this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe a beautiful golden hue. I find my dried beans and peas takes much longer to boil in Johannesburg, due to the high altitude. If you didn’t know this “low air pressure causes boiling water to evaporate more quickly in high altitude”, now you should understand why our dried beans and peas take longer to cook. It’s why I have invested in a pressure cooker, makes life so much more simple.

Easy Dal made with yellow split peas

This recipe makes a great dish for vegetarians and you can make it ahead and freeze. My fussy family will never eat food that’s pre-cooked and frozen but I have frozen cooked dal in the past, heated and served it to them. They didn’t know the difference. My hubby even went to the extent of complimenting me on how delicious the dal was, or should I say “leftover dal”. I hope you get to make a fresh pot of dal and enjoy!

Easy Dal made with yellow split peas

You may want to try some of my other vegetarian recipes from my blog too, here’s the links below:


Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin

Palak Paneer

Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe

A simple, comforting Indian dish made with split peas
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 cup/250ml yellow split peas
  • 1/2 tspn turmeric
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 green chillies or dry chillies
  • 2 large garlic cloves smashed
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • 1 tspn mustard seeds
  • 1 tspn fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tspn cumin seeds
  • 2 tspn butter ghee or 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 spring onion optional
  • 1 small tomato blanched and grated
  • Few coriander leaves for garnishing
  • salt
  • 3 cups/750ml water plus a little more


  • Soak dal overnight or for a few hours. Add the 3 cups of water with the turmeric and boil on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker until it's soft and smooth.
  • Heat butter ghee or oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once it starts bursting add spring onion (optional) curry leaf, chilli and onion and sauté until onion is translucent.
  • Add garlic and fry for a minute.
  • Add the tomato and cook on a low heat until the tomato is cooked.
  • Add the cooked da and season with salt, Add more water and bring to a boil, allow it to simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes. Water can be added according to your preference, if you prefer a thick dal add less water, if you prefer it more liquid then add more water. Once cooked you can add 2 teaspoons of butter to make it even more delicious if you wish.
  • Garnish with coriander

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