Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dried Pea Soup

The adventure of making this soup reminded me of the old Indian Tamil saying of how a woman attempting to make Dosa, a pancake, asks her husband to use a bowl instead of a plate :). Yes, you guessed it, Dosa had ended becoming mush. For those who might appreciate the Tamil original saying, here it is: "Dosa varthu koozha pochu, donnai theyyum brahmana".

I had aimed on making chundal; I soaked the dried whole peas and then pressure-cooked them for what I thought would be the right amount of time. To my utter dismay, I found porridge instead when I opened the cooker to proceed. The peas were too soft for anything but soup; so soup it became and a delicious one at that! It is so simple and yet absolutely delicious - better make plenty of it as it gets gobbled up pretty quickly; Yum!

Although I used whole dried peas, regular split peas can be used as well. Whole peas are available in Indian markets; split peas are available in most markets.

6 Servings


2 cups whole dried peas
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
1 Jalapeno chili, finely chopped (remove seeds for a milder soup)
1 sprig Curry leaves
2 large Tomatoes
1 tsp Garlic Spread or 1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tsp Sambar Powder
a few grinds of Black Pepper, to taste
4 T finely chopped Cilantro or Italian Parsley

1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Red Chili flakes or 1 dried red chili
1 Tbsp Oil


Sort the dried peas for extraneous materials; wash and soak in fresh water to cover for several hours or overnight.

Drain, rinse, and cook in fresh water to cover with a pinch of turmeric and a teaspoon of salt until very soft.

Heat the oil in a large pot with the cumin seeds and chili flakes. When the spices brown slightly, add the onions, green chili, turmeric, and a pinch of salt; cook stirring often for about 3 or 4 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the sambar powder and the tomatoes. Stir well to combine and cook until the tomatoes are softened.

Add the cooked peas; if too thick, add enough hot water to get desired consistency.

Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes stirring occasionally; make sure it does not burn. Remove from heat.

Stir in the chopped herbs, cover, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Serve hot with cornmeal muffins, any kind of bread, or your favorite accompaniments.

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