Afghan-Style Dal

Adapted from
The word dal describes a rainbow of various beans and peas as well as the infinite number of dishes that you can make from them. This particular version uses yellow split peas and is meant to be creamy and spicy in equal measure.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Veggie Side-Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 240 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground tumeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 cups yellow split peas
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chile sauce
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves


  • Sort yellow split peas, removing any that look bad and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Rinse and chop onion and garlic. Peel ginger and grate.
  • Use a large saucepan to heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Add turmeric, cumin, cloves and cinnamon stick and warm them for 30-60 seconds to release their flavorful oils. Add broth, split peas, tomato paste and chile sauce. You can omit the chile if you want a milder dish. Stir and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. If needed, a little water can be added to keep the desired consistency.
  • The dish is ready when the split peas are very tender and start to fall apart. Remove cloves and cinnamon stick. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.


Smart Shopping Tips
  • Fresh ginger provides a unique zing to savoy foods that dried ginger just can’t match. Recipes usually call for a very small quantity, so just buy what you need. It’s okay to break off a small piece, called a “finger.”
  • Save money by buying dried goods, such as beans, legumes, rice and cereals in the bulk section. You can buy just the amount you need, saving you money and keeping your ingredients fresh.
Cooking & Serving Tips:
  • Stirring this dish is what gives it a creamy texture without milk. The more you stir, the better the results.
  • If you don’t have a cinnamon stick, substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. You can also use 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or all spice for the whole cloves.
  • For a richer soup, replace some of the water or stock with coconut milk.
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