Chef’s Special: Curried Split Peas with Courgette

The key to getting this dish right is to make sure the peas are not mushy, but kept individual and with texture. Keep an eye on them during the last 15 minutes of cooking time to achieve this; it is well worth the effort. Serve warm or chilled – both are delicious. For more seasonal recipes by Erin Baker, visit

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200g yellow split peas or chana dal
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 small onions, thinly sliced
½ tsp homemade or good quality curry powder
¼ tsp asafoetida
1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, seeds removed and finely chopped
500g courgettes, cut into 1 inch pieces
100ml water
¼ tsp garam masala
Lemon, juice only
Fresh coriander, finely chopped


1. Rinse split peas well and then cover with water, about 2 inches above the split peas. Let stand for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30-45 minutes or until split peas are tender to the teeth but not mushy. Check regularly to avoid over cooking. Drain split peas when done.

2. In a large frying pan heat oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. Seeds will begin to dance around, careful not to burn. Add onions and cook until almost translucent. Add curry powder and aseofetida and stir, cook the spices for a minute. Stir in ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Cook vigorously without burning until oil begins to separate from the mixture, about 5 minutes; add a bit of water if the mixture starts to stick.

3. Add courgettes and cook for a few minutes then add the water, bring to a simmer and cook until courgettes are tender. Stir in garam masala and lemon juice; taste to adjust seasoning. Garnish with fresh coriander.

Chef’s Specials Archive:

Chef’s Specials – Roasted Squash

Chef’s Specials – Root Vegetable Hotpot

Chef’s Specials: Minted Broad Bean