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Brought to you by: OcadoLife
    6 serving

Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 6

Fragrant and satisfying, this traditional vegan dal – made with yellow split peas, onions, spices and tomatoes – is worked as one simple base recipe that can be finished in three different ways. Choose from chilli and maple roast squash, beetroot and paneer or roast spiced tomatoes with cavolo nero. Serve with sliced green chilli, a handful of coriander, aubergine pickle and plain rice or chapatti. Recipe by chef and author Ed Smith. Looking for more soups and salads recipes? Look no further.
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  • 300g yellow split peas
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g onions
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 25g ginger, peeled and grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 250g tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus extra to taste


Step 1

Soak the split peas in just-boiled water for 15 mins. Meanwhile, add the oil, onions and a pinch of salt to a heavy-based pan. Fry over a medium heat for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, then cover. Reduce the heat and cook for at least 30 mins, until golden and fragrant.

Step 2

Drain the split peas and transfer to a separate saucepan. Add 1.5L cold water and the cardamom. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a lively simmer for 45 mins, until tender but not broken down; skim off any foam that forms during the first 10 mins or so.

Step 3

While the onions and split peas are cooking, prepare your chosen twist (see steps 8-10).

Step 4

Once the onions are really golden, stir in the garlic and ginger. Cook gently for 5 mins, then add the dry spices and chilli flakes and cook for 1 min or so; if the mixture sticks, add 2-3tbsp water. Stir in the tomatoes and 100ml water, and cook over a medium-high heat for 10 mins, until the tomatoes break down and the liquid reduces.

Step 5

Add the onion and tomato mix to the cooked split peas, along with any of the twist ingredients, if using. Simmer for a final 15 mins, stirring regularly to prevent the bottom catching.

Step 6

After 15 mins, add enough water to loosen the mix to the consistency of a textured soup. Add twist ingredients, if using, and season to taste with the sea salt.

Step 7

Decant into bowls and finish with any remaining twist ingredients and garnishes, along with the sliced chilli, coriander and aubergine pickle. Serve with the rice and/or bread.

Step 8

To serve this with chilli and maple roast squash, preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. Cut an 800g squash in half, scoop out the seeds, then cut the squash into 1-2cm-thick strips. Toss the squash with 2tbsp rapeseed oil, 1 heaped tsp chilli flakes, 2tsp ground cumin and a pinch of sea salt flakes. Spread out on a baking tray in a single layer. Roast the squash for 20 mins, stir, and roast for 5 mins more. Add 2tbsp maple syrup, stir again and roast for 5 mins. Mash half the squash with a potato masher and add to the base dal recipe at step 5. Use the rest as a topping.

Step 9

To serve this with beetroot and paneer, grate 400g raw beetroot and cut 225g paneer into 2-3cm cubes. Add both to the base dal recipe at step 5. Add 4tbsp desiccated coconut at step 6; this will add creaminess. Once the dal has been served into bowls, add 1 heaped tbsp coconut yoghurt to each, and sprinkle with desiccated coconut if you like.

Step 10

To serve this with roast spiced tomatoes and cavolo nero, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Strip the leaves from 150g cavolo nero and roughly chop, discarding the stems. Stir into the base dal recipe at step 5. Mix 1tsp golden caster sugar, 1tsp sea salt flakes, 1tbsp garam masala and 2tbsp rapeseed oil in a small roasting tray. Add 750g cherry tomatoes; toss to coat and roast for 20-25 mins. Stir a third of the tomatoes and their juices into the base dal recipe at step 6; add the rest when serving.

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