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Recipe: Yellow split-pea dal, a staple throughout India, is a nutritious vegetarian meal

Yellow Split-Pea Dal.Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

Dal, which refers loosely to the dish and the main ingredient -- pulses, lentils, or beans -- is a staple throughout India, where it varies from place to place and household to household. You can freeze it and use it on busy days. Here, the dal is made with yellow split peas, which need to soak overnight. The rest is easy. Simmer the split peas for 45 minutes and season the pot with ginger, cumin, and cilantro. It's quintessential comfort food, a nutritious, one-dish, vegetarian meal served with rice or the Indian bread, naan. I make it several times a week and it brings me home to India.

1cup yellow split peas
cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
1teaspoon ground cumin
3teaspoons lemon juice
1tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a bowl, soak the split peas overnight in water to cover by 2 inches (not the measured water). Drain and rinse thoroughly.

2. Tip the split peas into a medium flameproof casserole. Add the 3 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Skim any scum on the surface. Lower the heat. Add a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, with the ginger and garlic. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the split peas are tender.

3. Stir in the cumin, lemon juice, and cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes more.

4. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Serve with rice or naan.

Sena Desai Gopal

Serves 4

Dal, which refers loosely to the dish and the main ingredient -- pulses, lentils, or beans -- is a staple throughout India, where it varies from place to place and household to household. You can freeze it and use it on busy days. Here, the dal is made with yellow split peas, which need to soak overnight. The rest is easy. Simmer the split peas for 45 minutes and season the pot with ginger, cumin, and cilantro. It's quintessential comfort food, a nutritious, one-dish, vegetarian meal served with rice or the Indian bread, naan. I make it several times a week and it brings me home to India.

1cup yellow split peas
cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2cloves garlic, finely chopped
1teaspoon ground cumin
3teaspoons lemon juice
1tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a bowl, soak the split peas overnight in water to cover by 2 inches (not the measured water). Drain and rinse thoroughly.

2. Tip the split peas into a medium flameproof casserole. Add the 3 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil. Skim any scum on the surface. Lower the heat. Add a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, with the ginger and garlic. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the split peas are tender.

3. Stir in the cumin, lemon juice, and cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes more.

4. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Serve with rice or naan.Sena Desai Gopal