Yellow Split Pea Daal (Slowcooker Edition)

Daal is a cornerstone of Nepali/Indian/Pakistani/Bengali cuisine; it is a soup that can be served thick like a stew or watered down to resemble a broth. I like my daal as a cross between a soup and stew while my brother likes his daal watered down. There is no right or wrong way about it but at restaurants, you will normally find daal on the thicker side. Daal basically refers to dried pulse (lentils, peas, or beans) that have been split during the processing and the soup prepared from split pulse is also called daal.



There are several varieties of daal but yellow split peas are a staple in my pantry because unlike most dried beans and legumes, it does not require pre-soaking and takes a much shorter time to cook. Generally, I cook daal in my beloved pressure cooker but if you don’t own one or don’t want to wait around while daal simmers for 45 minutes on your stovetop – this recipe is for you as it uses a slow cooker. So no baby sitting your daal! If you are looking to invest in one kitchen equipment, I hope its a slow cooker because I plan on using my slow cooker a lot this Fall so expect to see a lot of slow cooker recipes.




Daal is hands down the simplest and comforting food to make although you can fancy things up by using different combinations of lentils, adding onions, tomatoes, and various garnishes. We are keeping things extremely simple around here, I am talking less than 5 ingredients including salt and water and finishing off with tadka, a process of frying green chilies, and spices such as cumin, carom in oil/ghee/butter until its aromatic and folding it into daal right before serving. Tadka is a step you must not miss – it’s amazing how such a small step can add so much flavor and warmth to the overall dish.



If you have ever ventured the lentils isle at the Indian grocery store, chances are you have been very confused and overwhelmed with so many varieties of lentils. Here’s a quick guide but if you are buying lentils particularly for making daal, you can choose either red lentils (gets very mushy and cooks fast), yellow split peas, split pigeon peas or a combination of these. When it comes to nutrition, like most legumes, yellow split peas are naturally vegan, gluten free and a great source of fiber and protein along with micronutrients such as folate, thiamin, phosphorus, and potassium to name a few.




Yellow split peas are relatively very inexpensive and can be further stretched by adding more water if you need to feed a crowd or unexpected guests. Daal can be made ahead of time and if stored properly, it can be used for 3-4 days. It will thicken up so add 1-2 tablespoon(s) of water when reheating it. If you are a stickler for a fresh tasting daal every single day, simply prepare tadka right before serving. Daal can be eaten alone, with white rice, naan or bread. If you want a full meal, I suggest looking at tofu tikka masala and shahjahani khichdi, all of which are naturally vegan and gluten free.

Yellow Split Pea Daal (Slowcooker Edition)

Serves: 6-8


  • 1 cup dried yellow split peas

  • 5 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 3-4 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • For tadka:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee/butter/oil (use whatever fits your dietary preference but ghee is traditionally used)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds

  • 3 green chili, sliced (optional)


  1. Rinse yellow split peas and place it in a slow cooker over high heat with water.

  2. Add turmeric, salt, and garlic to the cooker.

  3. Allow it to cook for 2-3 hours until split peas are tender and mushy.

    For tadka:

  4. Heat a small pan with ghee/oil/butter.

  5. Fry cumin seeds, carom seeds, and green chili until fragrant and slightly brown.

  6. Take a ladleful of daal in the pan and pour the contents back into the cooker.

  7. Combine everything together, adjust the salt as needed.

  8. Serve it hot.

Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai

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