Friday, January 14, 2011

Frugan: Sweet and Spicy Dahl & Perfectly Cooked Rice

I adore Indian food. It is so simple, frugal, healthy and delicious. Dahl is one of my go to comfort foods. Both of my kids love it too. I like to add veggies to the soup for a simple yet complete meal.

Yellow split peas are $.99/lb. You cant beat that! I put together this dish with what I had on hand. The list of spices is long; if you don't have them then feel free to use 2 T of Curry Powder 1/2 t cumin and 1/4 t of cinnamon in place of the long list.

I like using whole seeds in my dahl, but if those bother you then you can dry roast all of the seeds and grind them instead.

Sweet Potato and Yellow Split Pea Dahl

  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 t mustard seeds
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • ½ t coriander seeds
  • ¼ t fennel seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1/8 t hing
  • 2 t turmeric
  • 1/8 t cloves
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 7 cloves garlic, pressed 
  • 3 T finely minced ginger
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 t Tony’s seasoning or salt
  • ¾ c yellow split peas
  • 2 c sweet potato ( 1 large )
  • 1 c waxy potato ( 1 medium )
  • 5 c water
  • Braggs or Soy sauce to taste
  • Juice of 2 limes ( save your zest! ) or 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c cilantro, chopped
  • Siracha to taste if desired
  • Around 6 c chopped greens (optional)


  1. Heat a soup pot to medium, melt coconut oil and add the spices
  2. When mustard seeds pop, add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, carrot and Tony’s
  3. Sauté  for 10 minutes
  4. Add split peas, potatoes and water
  5. Bring to a boil uncovered
  6. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for a hour or until peas are soft; add greens during the last 10 minutes of cooking if using
  7. Season with Soy sauce, lime juice and cilantro

Basmati rice is perfect with the dahl. Many people are nervous about cooking rice. This is my favorite method:

Perfectly Cooked Basmati Rice
  • 1 c rice
  • 1 ¾ c water 
  • Pinch salt
  • Toast the rice over high heat until it is very fragrant and turns translucent.
  • Add water and bring to a strong boil; cook  uncovered until the water level meets that rice ( around 3 minutes or so )
  • Cover, turn heat off; allow rice to sit covered for 15 minutes
  • Fluff and eat

I'm pleased to say that my Sugar Free Ketchup Recipe has passed the kid test! My sons are brutally honest. While it doesn't match the texture of commercial ketchup, the taste is pretty much spot on. The texture is achieved by using food starches and corn syrup. When you stop eating these ingredients it can take a little while to adjust, but before you know it, you will be satisfied with healthier options. 

Just think of how much healthier people would be, especially kids, if the ketchup they ate was not full of crap! 

I turned the ketchup into a BBQ sauce by adding some mustard, liquid smoke and chipotle. It made a delicious Sloppy Lentil Wrap complete with Nappa Cabbage Coleslaw that I made using my homemade Low Fat Vegenaise Alternative! 


  1. Looks great! I love Indian food too! I recently made some myself! :)

  2. Indian food is a favorite for me as well. It's so satisfying with all the colors and flavors, and it saves nicely too, because the spices keep working their way into the beans & veggies. This looks great!

  3. Dal is one of my favorite foods, too, and we eat it a lot. Yours looks great, as usual. The long list of spices happens naturally when you're in the kitchen, but does seem intimidating when you see it written down!

  4. you gave me some awesome inspiration! i hve lentils that are jusst blah right now, mustard, liquid smoke and chipotle will be awesome! and in a wrap you said? yes! its going to taste so great! and then the bbq idea! best post ever!

  5. your recipes rock and your pictures...mmmm, teach me, teach me!!

    they are beautiful, melody!

  6. So beautiful & colorful!

  7. Thank you for this recipe! I often get random split pea cravings but don't know what to do with them. This is a great way to satisfy that craving while getting lots of greens in. I've linked to this recipe on my blog: