Tuver dhal - a split pea soup recipe

This for me is the closest that vegan food must come to meat-eating. Not because there's any flavour or texture comparisons, but rather because both rely on ingredients that really don't want to be eaten.

At least, that's my take on the split pea - why else would it need so much soaking and general fannying around before you can get close to eating it?

If you're thinking of making some tuver dhal, there's no doing without split peas. And if you're thinking of split peas, you'll need to be thinking ahead - leaving them to soak overnight, or longer if you can be bothered. I think for this recipe, I put the split peas in to soak one morning and got cooking them the evening of the day after.

This is not a recipe to be rushed. You'll need to put the peas on to boil for a good long time, say half an hour to an hour, so it helps to have a good book on hand for the intervals between the actual cooking bits.

And yeah, I like to alternate good pictures of my food with crap pictures of my food, so it's time for a crap one. Trust me, this is one dish that's got beauty on the inside.

Tuver dhal
Makes three large bowls

100g yellow split peas, soaked for at least 24 hours
Half a teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of allspice
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 and a half teaspoons of cinnamon
1 green chilli chopped finely
Half a teaspoon of turmeric
Pinch of asafoetida
One can of cherry tomatoes in juice
Chunk of ginger grated (I used something about the diametre of a 10p piece and about 2cm deep)
2 teaspoons of sugar
Juice of a quarter of a lemon
Two heaped dessertspoons of peanut butter of tahini
Salt to taste
150 mls of hot water or stock

How you do it

Drain the split peas that have been soaking, and cover with boiling water.

Bring back to the boil, then turn down and simmer until tender.

Meanwhile, in another pan, heat a little oil. Once warmed, add the garam masala, allspice, mustard seeds, cinnamon, chopped chilli, asafoetida and turmeric and cook over a medium heat until the mustard seeds begin to pop.

To the same pan, add the tomatoes, ginger, tahini or peanut butter, lemon juice, sugar and salt and continue to warm the mixture over a low heat while the split peas are cooked - that could be half an hour or an hour, depending on how long you've been soaking the split peas first.

Once the split peas are cooked, drain them and add to the tomato mix. Blend until smooth and then add the water or stock - you may prefer your dhal thinner, in which case, add a bit more water or stock.

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