Cooking 101 Basics : Cooking Split Peas ( or Toor Dal)

This is from a series that never took off called cooking 101. I decided not to continue this so I will just put this in vegan cooking.

Welcome to Cooking 101 Basics! Today we’re going to cover Split Peas, specifically yellow split peas, however they cook the same. In India yellow split peas are also referred to as Toor  Dal.  This photo is uncooked yellow peas that have been already split. This is the most common way to find yellow peas, you can buy them in bags in the beans section of your supermarket or as I do in the bulk section of your health food store.



This photos is our already cooked yellow split peas, look as how much larger they got! So yummy! ^.^ They plump up to 2-3times their original size, and I think they get very shiny once cooked. Notice I also cook them just enough to make them tender, but not to turn into mush. I like to pre-cook a lot of beans or grains at once to be used later in the week. (saving you tons of time in the kitchen) If you need split peas for a soup recipe, reheat with a little hot water and smash according the recipe, its that’s simple! You can also freeze these in 1/2 – 1 cup serving sizes for ease of use at a later time, they reheat very well, just dump frozen split peas into a pot of hot boiling water for few moments and serve!


So how do you cook them? Its simple!
You will need: (basic ratio, you can cook more or less, just do the math!)

1 cup dry split peas or toor dal
atleast 4 cups of water, I like to use 5-6 and just strain mine in the sink
optionally 1/2 tsp salt for cooking water
large pot
30-45 minutes of cooking time

To get started, wash your split peas VERY well under running water and make sure to pick out any weird colored pieces or black bits. Don’t worry there is nothing wrong with them, sometimes you get a pebble or something in here, you just don’t want to eat it.  Next, bring a pot of water to a boil. I suggest a MINIMUM of 4 cups of water per 1 cup of dry peas, however, I use 5-6 cups water per 1 cup peas because I like to strain mine in the sink and store for later.  Once your water is boiling, add the salt, stir until it dissolves.  Adding salt is optional, some people think adding salt makes the peas tough, however I’ve yet to have a batch that was too hard or not tasty because of the salt. Next add in your split peas and stir. Turn your heat to about medium or medium-high depending, on your stove, so that the water is at a “low boil”. Boiling the peas too high can turn them mushy towards the end of cooking.  Once the peas are boiling, you can optionally remove any foam that floats to the top of the pot. This is not required, but I think removing it helps with the flavor.  Here’s the hard part (if there is is one!) you need to cook them for ATLEAST 30 minutes, mine usually take closer to 40. At 30 minutes you’ll want to check on them and see if they’re to your desired softness, if not cook 5 more minute and check, and repeat if necessary. Keep in mind that now all split peas are the same, so one batch might take 35 minute and the next might take 45, it will vary.  That’s it! You’ve officially cooked split peas also known as toor dal. This amazing staple food is not only cheap, but extremely healthy, 1 cup of cooked split peas has a mere 230 calories and 16g (yes  SIXTEEN grams) of protein, no wonder this is one of the many important vegetarian and vegan staples.

Now that you have cooked split peas, the sky is the limit here. Similar to tofu, split peas (in my opinion at least) lack any real flavor, so try adding whatever your favorite spices might be. Try tossing them into stir-fry or take a stab at making homemade meatless vegan burger. Or you can just surf around our website for great recipes using split peas!