Split Pea Soup with Potatoes | Dinner

The Indian name is a mouthful even for me. Try saying it a few times! This dal is from Odisha, a northeastern state in India. Panch phoron, also known as Indian Bengali five-spice blend, adds a wonderful flavour profile to the dal. The cooked dal is garnished with jeera Lanka, which is roasted ground cumin and cayenne.


3 1/2 cups water 1 teaspoon safflower or coconut oil 2 teaspoons Panch Phoron spice blend 3/4 cup finely chopped red or white onion 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 (1/2-inch) knob of ginger, minced 2 medium potatoes, diced (1 1/2 cups) 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon roasted ground cumin, for garnish 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, for garnish


1. Combine the split peas with 3 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan. Partially cover and cook over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until the split peas are soft and slightly mushy. Do not drain. 2. Meanwhile, make the tempering: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the panch phoron spice blend (cumin, fennel, mustard, nigella, and fenugreek seeds). Cook until the fennel seeds change colour, about a minute. 3. Add the onion and cook until golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger, then add the potato, turmeric, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the cooked split peas with their cooking liquid, and the salt. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover, and cook until the potatoes are well done and desired consistency is achieved about 15 minutes. Garnish with roasted ground cumin and cayenne before serving. Pressure Cooker: Wash the split peas. Combine with 3 cups of water in a pressure cooker. Close and lock the lid, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes once the cooker reaches pressure (3 to 4 whistles at medium-high heat). Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid, add salt and the tempering, along with potatoes. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Variation: Substitute pumpkin, sweet potato, or other squash for the potato.

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