Yellow split peas with spiced tomato and zucchini recipe

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This is another example of the use of the tarka method of toasting spices and then adding them to cooked ingredients, which is a common way to season foods in India.

  • Yield: 10 portions (5–6 ounces/portion)


For Cooking the Yellow Split Peas
  • 1 qt Water
  • 1 lb Yellow Split Peas (called toovar dal in India)
  • 2 tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Salt
For Making the Tarka and Sautéing the Vegetables
  • 2 oz Ghee
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • ½ tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 2 Small Dried Red Chiles (such as chili de arbol or japonese, or substitute 1 tsp red pepper flakes)
  • 0.5 oz Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 oz Ginger, minced
  • 8 oz Yellow Onion, diced small
  • 8 oz Zucchini, diced medium
  • 10 oz Tomato Concassée or Canned Diced Tomato
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • ¼ cup Packed Chopped Fresh Cilantro (about ¼ to 1/3 bunch)
  • Salt, to taste
How to Make It
    For Cooking the Yellow Split Peas
  1. Combine the water, yellow split peas, turmeric, and salt in a small pot, and bring to a boil over a medium-high flame.
  2. Once the split pea mixture has come to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cover to cook the peas until they are tender (about 20–25 minutes). (Add more water to the pot if the peas become uncovered at any time during this process.)
  3. Once the peas are tender, remove them from the heat and set the pot aside until the vegetables and seasoning are done (these can be prepared as the split peas are cooking).
  4. For Making the Tarka and Sautéing the Vegetables
  5. In a heavy-bottomed pan large enough to hold the vegetables and the split peas, heat the ghee over a medium flame until it is hot; add the whole spice seeds to make the tarka.
  6. Once the spice seeds have become fragrant, add the whole dried chiles; stir the spices and chiles in the ghee to prevent burning, and cook in fat for 1–2 minutes to infuse the oil.
  7. Add the minced garlic cloves and ginger; continue to stir to quickly sauté the seasonings. Add the onion, lower the heat, and sweat the onion until tender.
  8. Once the onion becomes tender, turn the heat back up and add the zucchini; sauté the zucchini until it just begins to brown (about 4–5 minutes).
  9. Once the zucchini begins to color, add the tomato and garam masala; bring the entire mixture to a simmer over a mediumhigh flame, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  10. Once the mixture has simmered for 5 minutes, add the cooked yellow split peas to the pot and stir them into the seasoned vegetable mixture. Bring the entire mixture to a gentle simmer over low heat.
  11. Once hot, add the lemon juice and cilantro. Season with salt, if necessary, and serve.

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