Dhal (Split Peas Soup)


Dhal is a Trinidadian household staple. Everyone in my house loves this stuff…everyone except for yours truly that is. I am not gonna lie to you, I am not a fan. I do eat it from time to time, I just do not love it. However, since the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one…and yes I did quote Spock, who seemed to have lived by utilitarian principles, go figure…I will give you the recipe.

Dhal is a split peas soup of sorts…that is if you like bite sized pieces of cumin in your soup. It is mainly used as a side dish, in the same manner you would use peas with your rice or roti or whatever. I personally love it with fried caraille (bitter gourd) and rice. Yes I can see you cringing your face from behind your screen but I loveee caraille.

Btw, before I forget, The Makeshift Chef is now on Instagram so feel free to follow me there!



  • 1 cup split peas (washed)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 medium sized onion – sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 cloves garlic (whole)
  • 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin (geera)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 pimiento peppers (sliced)
  • Hot pepper to taste (optional)
  • Salt to taste


  • In a pot add your split peas, hot pepper, onion, pimientos, water, 3 cloves of whole garlic and about a teaspoon of salt. (At this stage you can’t taste anything so you can always adjust your salt content later on.)
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and boil for about an hour or until the split peas grains are tender.
  • Turn off the stove.
  • Using an immersion blender, pulverise your dhal concoction. When you are finished, it should be a smooth soup-like consistency…like a thin-medium thickness soup i.e. not too thin where it is watery or not too thick where it is like porridge. If it is too thick, add some water, turn on the stove, bring to a boil and turn the stove back off.
  • You can also adjust your salt at this stage.
  • In a very small pot, add your canola oil, whole cumin and 2 cloves sliced garlic.
  • Heat on medium heat until the garlic is golden brown and your cumin is fragrant.
  • Here comes the tricky part so be careful. You have the add the hot oil, garlic and cumin to the pot of dhal.
  • Get a pot lid. This is going to act as your shield. Just pretend you’re playing Legend of Zelda or something. Using one hand, hover the lid about a foot over the pot with the dhal.
  • With your free hand, hold the pot with the hot oil and pour it SLOWLY into the dhal mixture using your “shield” to protect you. Don’t you feel like a hero!
  • Mix well.
  • Enjoy while I go make something I actually want to eat. 😛

Until next time,



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