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Yellow Split Pea Curry

We make our version of a Tarka Dahl with coconut milk and just a hint of tamarind paste. The coconut gives the curry a wonderful creaminess and the sharp tamarind helps to keep the whole dish tasting fresh and light. This curry is an easy & satisfying go-to that’s packed to the rafters with minerals, fibre & protein.

Ingredients (makes enough for 6):

  • 250g dried yellow split peas

  • 2 small brown onions, diced

  • 4 small cloves of garlic, chopped

  • a thumb of garlic, chopped

  • 2 x 400g cans of coconut milk

  • 1 x 400g or half a can of chopped tomatoes

  • 1 x 400g can of chickpeas

  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste

  • Toasted coconut flakes and sliced spring onions to finish

*we make the spice mix ourselves at the school but using 2 or 3 heaped tablespoons of a good quality masala curry paste works well too.

for the spice paste*

  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds

  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1 tbsp turmeric

  • pinch of whole dried chillies

  • 2 whole cloves

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 tbsp tomato puree

Toast the cumin, cloves, chilli, peppercorns & coriander for a few minutes in a dry pan until they are warm and aromatic. Grind to a powder before adding the remaining spices and then the tomato paste.


Cook the split peas in boiling water and a few simple aromatics. When finished, drain, season lightly with salt and olive oil and set aside.

Fry the onions, garlic & ginger gently until soft and just starting to catch the bottom of the pan. Add the tamarind. Add the spice paste and fry for a few minutes before adding the lentils, chickpeas, coconut milk & chopped tomato. Stir and allow to simmer for at least 40 minutes or until the peas have collapsed and all the flavours are well acquainted.

I love this recipe with a little Greek yogurt on the side to stir in. Serve with a nice crunchy salad or steamed greens. :)