Thursday, 11 June 2015

Mutton and Yellow Split Peas Curry (Beri di chana dal)

I loooove legumes. I could quite happily live off lentils and chickpeas and not miss meat. Well not too much anyways. But combining meat and legumes together is a pretty winning combination in my eyes. This mutton and yellow split curry is one of my absolutely favourite meat curries. I had to do some research to find out what yellow split peas are called in Bengali or other South Asian languages. We call yellow split peas chana dal, however it turns out that's incorrect as chana dal is quite literally dried, split chickpeas. Yellow split peas are apparently called matar dal. And who said food blogging wasn't educational, ehhh??

I actually used dried yellow split peas rather than relying on tinned lentils as I normally do. But it's only because I haven't found tinned yellow split peas in the supermarket yet. If I do, I would totally switch over. I like this curry best the next day after the sauce has dried up and thickened a little bit and the spices have had time to mature a little bit. That's also my favourite way to enjoy any dal curry, actually, is that weird? I decided to pair the curry with the homemade, yeast free naan that I've already blogged about a couple of weeks ago which is perfect to mop up all of the juices. It tastes just as good however with plain rice, which is the usual way us Bangladeshis eat it.

Mutton and Yellow Split Peas Curry

Serves 6-10

Prep time: 30-40 minutes (plus overnight soaking of yellow split peas)

Cooking Time: 1 hour - 1 hour 30 minutes

by Abida at The Red Lychee


1/2 cup yellow split peas
1 kg of mutton diced into chunks
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
One and half medium onions
4 cloves of garlic, minced/grated
1 inch piece of ginger, minced/grated
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick/cassia bark snapped into pieces
3 cardamoms
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1-1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Handful of Coriander
Salt to season


1) Wash and then leave yellow split peas in a bowl of cold water to soak overnight. The next day, rinse yellow split peas, and then place in a pot with cold water. Cook on a mdium to high heat for about 30 minutes, until the peas have softened in the middle. Skim off the froth from the top of the pot every now and then. Once peas are cooked, drain and reserve to the side.

2) In a large pot, add oil. Allow to heat up, then add garlic. Allow garlic to turn golden then add garlic, onion, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon. Add salt and stir. Then add the meat and the turmeric. Cover and leave to simmer on a medium to high heat. Check every 3-5 minutes. If the meat is catching the pan, add a little bit of water.

3) After about 20 minutes, once the onions have softened to a much and the meat has shrunk in size, add the remaining ground spices. Cover again and leave to simmer on a medium heat so the spices cook out. Check every now and then, and add water 1/2 a cup at a time if the meat seems like it is burning.

3) After another 15-20 minutes, once the oil and sauce have separated,  add the split peas and coat in the sauce. Leave to cook for about 10 minutes, and then pour in enough water to cover the meat and peas. For me, that is usually about a cup and a half of water (I use a normal coffee mug). Turn up the heat to medium-high and allow the curry to simmer to a boil.

4) Once yellow split peas have softened, and the meat is tender to your liking, season with salt to your taste. Add coriander and remove from heat. Serve with plain rice or flat bread.


  1. Looks good. My kids love split peas

    1. Maa sha Allah, I think they're a great source of protein and very filling!