Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Yellow Split Pea Dal

You can easily master this classic Indian dish in a rice cooker. If your cooker comes with a steamer basket, try steaming fresh cauliflower or broccoli to accompany the dal.



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2 Tbs. coconut oil
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1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
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6 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbs.)
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½ cup finely chopped carrots
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1 tsp. cumin seeds
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1 tsp. turmeric powder
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2 tsp. red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
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1½ cups dried yellow split peas
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1 lemon, juiced (2 Tbs.)
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½ cup cilantro leaves, for garnish, optional


1. Set rice cooker setting to “sauté” (or similar), and preheat 2 to 3 minutes. Add coconut oil, and heat 1 minute more. Add onion, garlic, and carrots, and sauté 5 to 6 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Add cumin, turmeric, and red pepper flakes; cook 1 minute more.

2. Adjust rice cooker setting to “slow cook” (or similar). Pour in 4 cups water, stir in split peas, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours, or until peas are soft. Thin dal with water, if desired. Serve drizzled with lemon juice, and garnish with cilantro (if using).

Nutrition Information: 

16 g
Total Fat: 
9 g
Saturated Fat: 
6 g
52 g
0 mg
16 mg
23 g
4 g
Serves 4

Comments on this Recipe

Something was missing from this recipe. Thinking of well-balanced thai and indian food, it was missing something sweet and tangy to balance the taste. I tried adding a bit of maple syrup and lemon juice to balance it out. It helped. If I do try to experiment with this further, I may try adding more curry powder.

This was super yummy. Even my 12 year old son liked it. I added a good bit of lime juice and cilantro at the end. Didn't have the yellow split peas, so I used red lentils. It turned out great! Thanks VT for another great recipe!!

Easy to make and tasty. Needs the lemon juice and cilantro to complete the dish. Used a slow cooker set on high and cooked for four hours.

I made this for dinner tonight. It was absolutely delish. I used cumin and saffron. Didn't have turmeric. The cilentro and lemon made the dish. Had a side of cauliflower. Will make this again.

Thank You Margaret for sharing the slow cooker tip!


For those of us that do not have a rice cooker, how long do we cook it for, need directions please.

Looks good.

Made on the stovetop. Sauteed over medium heat. Added peas and water then simmered over med-low for 45-50 min. Needed to add 1/2 - 1 cup water.

Made this in a pressure cooker. Same instructions, but cooked for 10 minutes on high pressure. Delicious!

I dont have a rice cooker. Can j cook it on stove top in saucepan, or in a slow cooker?

How would you cook this without a rice cooker?

Soaking the peas in water fr an hour prior to cooking helps soften it and cook faster (just under an hour) on stove top without a rice/pressure cooker.

I always start with the trinity of Indian cooking. Garlic, ginger and chile. I purée the amounts I want (so all tastes can go to preferences here) and they are mixed in the one jam jar to be fridged. A tsp or two (depending on other flavours to be added) are the basic starter after fry on initial spice mix and then the rices, seeds, beans, vegetables or whatever. I make my own curry powders and always ensure they include a touch of sugar and a touch of salt to balance out the flavours but only when the cooking well underway.

I made this dish tonight, with a few minor modifications, and it turned out great! I'll definitely make this again! Following are my modifications: 1) For the liquid, I started with a can of light coconut milk, and then added water to equal 4 cups. 2) I sauteed the veggies separately, then put them in the Vitamix and blended them for about 30 seconds on medium-low speed with some of the liquid so that there wouldn't be large chunks of vegetable matter in the finished product (personal preference). I added this mixture, along with the peas and remaining liquid to the rice cooker. Also, I added about 1-1/2 teaspoons of Himalayan Pink salt and some black pepper. 3) I added about a cup of fresh spinach, cut into small strips, a few minutes before it was done.