Indian Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe

Vegetarian Indian Yellow Split Pea Dal
The Spruce
Ratings (68)
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
78 Calories
2g Fat
11g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 78
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 682mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 4g
Calcium 43mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This vegetarian yellow split pea dhal recipe is one of the most popular vegetarian recipes here on TheSpruce. Dal, sometimes spelled dahl or dhal, is a staple of Indian vegetarian cuisine. This easy recipe is for a basic vegetarian and vegan yellow split-pea dhal. Serve it up with rice for a simple vegetarian Indian meal, or, add extra liquid and cook a little longer to make a more soup-like dhal.

Caution - it's got a bit of a kick! Want to make it a full meal? Add a side of vegetable pakoras or baked samosas (try these simple kale pakoras for something completely untraditional but absolutely delicious), and you'll have a complete yet still light and healthy Indian meal.

This easy dhal recipe is very low in fat and is also low-calorie. Use water or an additive-free vegetable broth, and this recipe is also gluten-free.​

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yellow split peas (uncooked)
  • 2 cups water (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. margarine
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin (whole seeds or ground)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Dash pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large pot, place the uncooked yellow split peas and the water or vegetable broth, and bring to a slow simmer.

    Yellow split peas.
     The Spruce
  3. Add the turmeric, cayenne, and salt, and cover.

    Seasoned split peas.
     The Spruce
  4. Cook for at least 20 minutes, covered, until the yellow split peas are fully cooked, stirring occasionally.

  5. You can also continue to cook your dal for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, if you prefer, to allow the yellow split peas to break up and have a smoother texture. 

    Boiled yellow split peas.
     The Spruce
  6. Either way, once the split peas are almost done, in a separate large skillet or frying pan, heat the onion, cumin, and clove in the margarine. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until onion, is soft (if you happen to have some asafoetida/hing on hand you can also add a little in for about 30 seconds just for extra flavor) 

    Cooking onions down.
     The Spruce
  7. Add the onion and spices mixture to the split peas, and allow to simmer for at least 5 more minutes.

    Onions and seasonings mixed into split peas.
     The Spruce
  8. Add a dash of pepper and more salt, if desired, and serve hot with rice or alone in a soup bowl.

    Indian Yellow Split Pea Dal
     The Spruce
  9. Enjoy!

If you're using yellow lentils or something other than yellow split peas in this recipe, you can cook them a little less than the suggested 20 to 35 minutes. 

This Indian food recipe is both vegetarian and vegan.