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Dharma Kitchen


Sunny Gingery Dal

Carrie H

Having a recipe like this in your arsenal during the holidays is so key. After days of digesting lots of heavy foods, last night I decided I needed something simple with lots of vegetables, some rice, and some kind of lentil. I also decided that I wouldn't make too many concessions and worry about whether or not anyone would eat it. I so rarely cook to just please myself, but I had to do just that. (Bonus: Everyone ate it, with no complaints.)

Lots of disclaimers here! I've got a long way to go toward any kind of mastery of Indian food, but I'm dabbling and learning in this area and don't claim to be an expert. I sort of jokingly wanted to call this White Yoga Girl's Curry, but that's not quite right, either. I've been wanting to make kitchari for a while, and I think I will, soon enough. For this recipe, I also didn't use any kind of hot pepper, but you could certainly add that to the mix. If you don't have curry leaves, just don't worry about it. I'm certain I used them in a way that's not per usual or necessarily authentic. (I will credit this recipe as an inspiration, however.) I made this last night, without soaking the split peas beforehand, and it took about 90 minutes altogether. During that time we set the table, the kids and husband showered, and everyone (except me) was ready for bed after dinner, eating at the table with pjs on. The process of cooking was mostly hands off. You could certainly do this in a slow cooker, as the Kitchn recipe I linked to suggests, or in a pressure cooker instead. Certainly, please think of this as a template, and swap out for whatever veggies you have on hand. I also meant to put some coconut milk in itS, but completely forgot to do so.

Baby Swiss chard, chopped roughly and ready to wilt in the sunny gingery dal. 

Baby Swiss chard, chopped roughly and ready to wilt in the sunny gingery dal. 



  • Ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil 
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. curry powder (I use sweet curry powder from Penzey's)
  • 1-2 T. turmeric root, minced
  • 1-2 T. ginger root, minced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup yellow split peas, rinsed, drained, and sorted
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 4-5 small yellow potatoes (about 1 1/2 cups) chopped to 1/2 inch
  • 1-2 small turnips, sliced thinly
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 bunch kale, chard, spinach or other dark leafy green, chopped roughly
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2-4 curry leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


Melt the coconut oil or ghee in a pan over medium heat, and add the onion, sauteeing for a few minutes until it starts to soften. Add the coriander through garlic cloves, stirring until it becomes fragrant and the onions begin to caramelize.

Add the split peas and water, and turn up the heat a bit, bringing it to a boil. Let it boil for a minute or so, and then turn the heat back down to medium-low. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, covered. 

Add the potatoes and turnips, and cook for another 10-15 minutes. When the split peas are almost finished, they will soften but still stay mostly intact. Add the juice of and zest of a lemon, along with the greens (I used a bunch of baby Swiss chard) and cilantro. Stir to combine, and cover. Cook over low heat (or turn the heat off altogether) for a minute or so, just until the greens wilt. Add salt and pepper, and a couple tablespoons of ghee before serving with rice of your choice (I used basmati, as it's what I had.) 

The finished product: Sunny Gingery Dal served with basmati rice. 

The finished product: Sunny Gingery Dal served with basmati rice.