When Autumn arrives and the leaves start to fall along with night temperatures, I feel the cold even when my house thermometer says I should be comfortably warm. It doesn’t matter that I’m active and put on a comfy smart wool shirt and light down sweater coat. Afternoons I start to crave Good Earth herbal tea and savory dinners…
A heavy rainstorm forecast and yellow leaves swirling in the wind this last weekend made me think to make a yellow split pea dal with a kick of Indian spices. Happily it turned out delicious, and I never lost my power.
One of the many great things about yellow split pea dal is that dried split peas don’t require soaking before cooking, and they cook in 30 minutes, a much shorter time required than for dried beans. They’re high in protein and dietary fiber, satisfying and healthy; I did the math and calculated this recipe has 310 calories per cup served over a cup of rainbow chard. I made a large pot of the dal, and served it on a bed of rainbow chard leaves cut into ribbons topped with 1/4 cup of Bhutanese Red Rice for an easy “one bowl” meal. Leftovers taste great, and it freezes well.
- 1 1/2 cup yellow split peas
- 1 large jewel yam, chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 bunch rainbow chard
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium red Serrano pepper, diced with seeds
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1 t black mustard seeds
- 3/4 t cardamom
- 1 1/2 t cumin
- 1 t turmeric
- 1/4 t salt, black pepper to taste
Cull through then rinse split peas well, cover with 4 cups fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer covered for about 25 minutes, until quite soft.
Cut thick stems out of rainbow chard. Chop the stems and set aside. Cut the chard leaves into thin ribbons and set aside.
In a large soup pot with 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat, add the mustard seeds and allow them to heat up til they just start to pop. Add onions, garlic, and all spices, and stir until onions begin to turn translucent. Add the chopped yam, stir to coat well with spices, add a few tablespoons of water, reduce heat and cover to simmer until softened, about 4 minutes. Add yellow peppers, celery, and chopped chard stems, cover and simmer another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. When split peas are soft, drain their water into a measuring cup to use later. Add split peas to large pot of spiced vegetables, stir to mix all together well, then add the cooking fluid from the split peas to obtain your desired consistency of dal.
Serve in a bowl over a lovely pile of chard cut into ribbons, and with Bhutanese red rice for a more substantial meal.