I was browsing a second hand bookstore in San Francisco a month or so ago, and came across an obscure little paperback (published in 1972) called The Art of Indian Cooking by Monica Dutt. I love Indian food, although I don’t like to get too fussy with it. But a quick glance at the recipes in this book reassured me that the recipes looked straightforward and used simple, natural ingredients with nothing but herbs and spices for flavoring (as it should be!) and ghee was recommended in most recipes :), although vegetable oil was mentioned as an alternative 🙁
So I purchased this little scrap of a paperback and couldn’t wait to get home and cook up some yummy Indian food! So far I’ve cooked several recipes from this book, all of which have been really tasty.
The combination of yellow split peas (my favorite kind!) and green spinach really caught my imagination in this recipe. I imagined the yellow-green contrast would look pretty (which it does!) and I like having another way to get more greens into my diet.
I made a couple minor deviations from the recipe (for example the lemon juice was my addition to lift the flavor just a little) otherwise it is true to the original.
Split Pea and Spinach Soup
1 cup yellow split peas* (soak overnight in warm water, then drain and rinse)
3-4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (start with 3 and see how you go)
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 fresh green chili pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 cup chopped spinach (I used frozen)
2 tablespoons ghee
¼ teaspoon cumin seed or ground cumin (I used ground cumin but would try cumin seeds next time)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your spicy heat tolerance)
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. Place split peas and stock into a large pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum.
2. Turn down to a simmer. Add the turmeric, coriander, ginger and green chili pepper.
3. Cover and simmer on low until peas are completely soft (about 1 hour 30 minutes). Simmer with the lid off the for last 30 minutes if you want a thicker soup.
4. With about 10-15 minutes to go, add the chopped spinach.
5. In a small pan, heat the clarified butter, then add the cumin and red pepper flakes and fry gently for a minute or so.
6. Using a spatula, scrape this oil/spice mixture in the soup, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
7. Taste and adjust seasonings as required, adding the lemon juice to taste.
Update: *Yellow split peas are less common than their green counterparts, but I prefer yellow – I think they have a slightly sweeter, nuttier taste. Soak the split peas overnight in a bowl of warm water (make sure the split peas are covered by a couple inches of water). Drain and rinse before cooking.
For another soup featuring these beautiful yellow split peas, here is my Split Pea and Ham Soup.
Linking to: Sunday Night Soup Night!, Souper Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen, Sunday School, Monday Mania, Homestead Barnhop, Make Your Own Mondays, Real Food 101, Meatless Mondays, Inspire Me Monday, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop, Real Food Wednesdays, Healthy 2day Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Whole Food Wednesday, Full Plate Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Fresh Bites Friday, Foodie Friday, Spinach Seasonal Recipe Round Up