The common dried pea comes in both yellow and green varieties and is usually sold split. They are interchangeable in recipes but green peas tend to have more flavour, though both will disintegrate on cooking. Before cooking, rinse peas of any dust, and while it is not necessary to soak them, it will reduce the cooking time. Split peas are commonly used in soup and have an affinity with bacon and ham. Pease pudding is a traditional English dish of puréed yellow split peas served in medieval times with 'a suck' of salty bacon. Green peas are ideal for mashing, as in the traditional mushy pea accompaniment to pies. Peas also carry spice extremely well, as in this classic Indian dhal.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 long dried red chillies
- 8 fresh curry leaves
- 300 gm yellow split peas, soaked in water for 1 hour
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup coriander leaves (loosely packed)
- 300 ml vegetable oil
- 2 onions, finely shaved on a mandolin
- 1Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan, add garlic and chillies and sauté over medium heat for 3 minutes, add curry leaves, then spices and cook for 1 minute. Add drained split peas and 1.5 litres of water and bring to the boil over high heat. Skim scum from surface, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until peas have reduced to a coarse purée.
- 2For fried onion, heat oil in a saucepan to 180C, add onion and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove to an absorbent paper lined-plate and cool. Reserve oil and refrigerate for later use.
- 3Season dhal to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice. Serve dhal spooned over rice, topped with fried onion and coriander leaves.