Throughout India, a meal is not complete without some variation of this spice-tempered legume dish. Cumin and turmeric provide slightly bitter notes, but this dish has an overall salty-savory flavor. Split-pea spinach dal with cauliflower is more of a stew than a soup; for a thinner version, decrease the final simmering time.
3 1/2 cups water, divided
1 cup dried yellow split peas
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped cauliflower florets
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 cups torn spinach
How to Make It
Combine 2 1/2 cups water, peas, and bay leaf in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 50 minutes or until tender. Add 1 cup water, cauliflower, and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until cauliflower is very tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf.
Heat butter and oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add cumin and next 5 ingredients (cumin through cloves); cook over low heat 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion mixture to pea mixture. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until thick. Stir in spinach; cook 3 minutes or until spinach wilts.