|I loved the combination of flavors in this side dish of lemony yellow split peas with garlic and ginger.|
I am now officially in love with this side dish of lemony yellow split peas flavored with minced garlic, ginger, and I cilantro. Even for those who insist on leaving out the cilantro, this is one of the most interesting flavor combinations I've tasted in a long time. And in this month when so many people are looking for Phase One recipes, this is a Phase One side dish! True, you need to limit portion sizes for this to 1/2 cup serving for phase one, but a small amount of this sharing the plate with a nice piece of fish or meat and a salad would make a lovely phase one meal.
I'm guessing at least some of you are looking at this suspiciously, but if you've ever eaten Indian food and enjoyed one of the creamy lentil stew dishes in the category called Dal, this is the same idea except the yellow split peas are left a little firmer. This dish can be vegan if you use vegetable stock, and for vegetarians this would make a wonderful stew-like main dish if you aren't doing phase one. Even if you've never cooked anything like this, I urge you to be adventurous and I bet you'll be surprised how much you like it.
This is the yellow split peas before cooking. They look just like lentils only they're yellow. I bought these in the bulk section at Whole Foods, but the grocery store by my house also carries yellow lentils in one-pound bags.
The recipe recommended rinsing the yellow split peas, and it did remove some of the extra starch and help the loose hulls to rise to the top. (If I had yellow split peas from a bag I might not bother to rinse them.
I'm a fan of minced garlic and ginger that come in a jar for some things, but for a recipe like this you need fresh garlic and ginger root. Use a big chef's knife to chop up 3-4 garlic cloves to get 2 tsp. finely minced garlic.
Add the yellow split peas and stir until they're well coated with oil. Then add the chicken or vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer until the split peas are soft but not mushy and most of the stock is absorbed.
The recipe said 20-30 minutes cooking time, but I simmered mine for 45 minutes to get them to look like this. (Don't worry if there's a little bit of stock left; most of it will absorb during the resting time.)
When the split peas are done, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and add 1 T minced fresh ginger root, 1 T lemon zest, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Stir into the split peas, then cover again and let it rest 10-15 minutes.
If you like cilantro, chop up some while the split peas are resting. (The cilantro is completely optional, but it was good in this.) Serve split peas with chopped cilantro if desired and additional lemon slices to squeeze on at the table.
(Makes 6-8 small side dish servings or 4-6 main dish servings if eating as a vegetarian stew; recipe adapted slightly from The Sunset Cookbook.)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. finely minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves garlic; do not use minced garlic from a jar for this recipe)
2 cups yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed if needed
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 T minced fresh ginger root (do not use minced ginger from a jar for this recipe)
1 T lemon zest (grated lemon peel)
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
(I used 2 lemons to get this much grated lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon juice.)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
chopped cilantro to sprinkle on at serving time (optional)
additional lemon wedges to squeeze on at serving time (optional)
Put yellow split peas in a bowl and pick over, removing any hulls or stones you find in the lentils. Rinse with cold water if needed and drain. (If you buy bulk split peas I would rinse, but split peas purchased in a bag probably don't need rinsing.)
Finely mince 3-4 garlic cloves to make 2 tsp. minced garlic. Heat olive oil in a small heavy dutch oven, add garlic and saute 1 minute or just until garlic becomes fragrant. Add yellow split peas and stir several times so all the split peas get coated with oil.
Add chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a low simmer, then cover simmer until split peas are soft but not mushy and liquid is mostly absorbed, about 30-45 minutes. (The recipe said 20-30 minutes, but mine took 45 minutes to become soft. Cooking time is determined by how old the split peas are.)
While split peas are cooking, zest the lemons, then squeeze the juice. Finely mince fresh ginger root to make 1 T minced ginger. When split peas are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and stir in the lemon zest, minced ginger, and lemon juice. Put the lid back on and let the split peas rest 10-15 minutes to develop flavors. (Don't worry if there is still some liquid; most of it will absorb during the resting time.)
While split peas are resting chop cilantro and cut lemon wedges (if using.) Serve warm, with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges to guests to use at the table if desired.
South Beach Suggestions:
Lentils and split peas area good low-glycemic choice for the South Beach Diet, but all dried beans and legumes should be limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving for phase one. I'd eat this as a side dish for phase one to go with something like Herb Encrusted Grilled Salmon or Chile Mustard Pork Kabobs, with a nice green salad on the side. For phase 2 or 3 you could eat a larger portion as a vegetarian stew.
Other Bloggers Cook with Yellow Split Peas:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Yellow Split Pea Soup from 101 Cookbooks
Yellow Split Pea and Sausage Soup from The Perfect Pantry
Basic Yellow Split Pea Dal from Viet World Kitchen
Yellow Split Pea Dal from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
Yellow Split Pea Spread from Spicie Foodie
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)