Dhal, a staple in Trinidadian cooking. We make this dish alongside curries or to be eaten alone like a soup or with roti *flat bread*. It’s healthy, flavorful and filling.

So funny story, when I was a teenager I was a bit rebellious *What? Really?! No way!*… I know, hard to believe right!? Anyway, my mom was forcing me to learn how to cook and I wanted no part of it, so I was throwing a hissy fit about cooking dhal and deliberately doing it wrong so she would just get mad at me and shoo me away. Well….she didn’t and I got a pot spoon thrown at me and she made me count each grain of dhal *split peas* in the package! Ever since then I’ve hated dhal and refused to make it! *Yeah! I’ll show her!!*

Years later, I’m pregnant and craving dhal and I didn’t know how to make it! According to Caribbean superstition, when you get pregnancy cravings and you don’t satisfy it, your child will be born with a birthmark shaped like what you were craving! And I was not about to have a child with a dhal birthmark on his head! 😁

Luckily my sister Giselle was visiting me and she is the best dhal maker I know *Yeah! Take that mom!!*, so I paid close attention and wrote down this recipe. I like my dhal not too thick and not too runny, just in the middle.

1 cup yellow split peas
2 1/2 cups water
7 grains garlic
1/2 onion chopped (medium)
1/2 habanero pepper ( keep whole if you want the flavor and not the heat)
1/4 tsp saffron powder
2 pimento peppers finely chopped (or you can use jalapeΓ±os)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp whole geera (cumin)


1. Soak split peas for a couple hours and drain.
2. Boil 2 1/2 cups of water and then add the peas.
3. Add the 5 garlic grains, onion, peppers and saffron powder.
4. Let boil until peas are very soft and tender.
5. In a small pan, heat oil and add 2 grains garlic and geera, let it brown over low heat.When the garlic is brown, carefully pour the oil mixture into your split peas. (This process is called chunkaying)

6. Whisk the mixture or puree until smooth and add salt to taste (about a tsp)

TIP: If your dhal is too thick you can add hot water until you get to your desired texture.






42 thoughts on “DHAL

  1. If your in a rush or forgot to soak the split peas…you can pressure cook them…add them into the pressure cooker …cover with water plus some…add some oil…about 2-3tablespoons…if u do this without the oil its gonna be a nightmare….pressure cook for about 15-20mins or until it reaches consistency that you like…and from this point onwards back to recipe above… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this recipe. It is true comfort food–especially on a cold Canadian spring day. And yes, I am a pressure cooker user as well, and see garbanzo beans going from rock hard dryness to tenderness in 30 min. when cooked in the right amount of water. Truly there is nothing lost just because it is quick. In fact, because it is under pressure and so quick, the nutrients are not lost the way the are when something cooks for a very long time. I do believe–because we all are different–this dahl would appeal to me more without the whole cumin, and perhaps cilantro at the end with a squeeze of fresh lemon and lots of cracked pepper. But the saffron threads and heat of the habanero and the nice strong punch of the garlic is going to be so great. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so very welcome! I would love to use a pressure cooker but I’ve seen one explode on my mom so I have a terrible fear of them 😁😁 I love your addition of cilantro, I’ll toss some in next time! I hope you enjoy the recipe πŸ’œ


  3. Reblogged this on WINE OUT OF WATER and commented:
    One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast, snack and dinner- dhal.

    It’s yellow (or green) split peas. Natasha, one of my long-time school friends, blogged the recipe here. It’s delicious, gluten-free, dairy free and very nutritious and filling- an excellent source of protein, iron, fiber, antioxidants and vitamin E; say goodbye to brain fog! Plus it’s pretty cheap and easy to make! You can eat it by itself like a soup, with gluten-free nan/purri or even with green veggies (I like to eat it with sauteed kale. Because what *doesn’t* go with kale?)

    Try it- you’ll love it! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure thing! Right before I got my hashi diagnosis, I realized this is one of the foods I craved so much that I started making a pot of dhal at least once a week. Now I know why- it’s exactly what my body needed to start healing! Thanks for the recipe; I usually just boil it the easy way- didn’t know about the chunkay…thing…will def try it next time I make a pot! ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohh.. there are few ways. One of them is in typical Gujarati way. Then other one is the way we usually cook curry.
        Umm.. I think I wont make sense this way, I’ll try and write down my chunkaying methods for you and thn send it. How does that sound?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. BAAAHAHAHAA… deliberately doing it all wrong so that you could get out of cooking- HILARIOUSSSS, and it backfired, boom! And ummmmm, now you have a FOOD blog!!! Oh how things change, right?! Love the story and LOVE THIS RECIPE!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We love Dal/Dhal/Dahl too! Never quite sure how to spell it, as each country seems to have their own unique way to do it. πŸ™‚ Hey, I have just nominated you for a blog award!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Suz! In the Caribbean we call it dhal, but in most parts of India they say dal. Thank you so much for the nomination! I’ve just been to your blog and I’m reading about your accidentally pulled baby carrot ha! I’m looking forward to learning so much from you! Cheers! πŸ™‚


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