Guyanese-style dhal

Indian Curried Lentils

Note: This is spicy to very spicy unless you cut down or omit the peppers

Makes: 6 servings
Total Time: 1 and a half hours, cook time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, prep time: 20 minutes


  • 8 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (can be omitted if you cannot find any near you)
  • 2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt (or more or less, depending on your salt preference)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
  • 1-3 habanero or wiri-wiri peppers, depending on how hot you like it, omit the pepper if you don’t want it spicy


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Rinse split peas and set them aside.
  2. Chop onion, garlic, tomato and habanero or wiri-wiri peppers.
  3. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil (can be done at the same time you are doing steps 1 and 2).
  4. Add split peas, onion, garlic, tomato, peppers and olive oil (if using) to boiling water.
  5. Add spices and salt (I like a bit more salt in my food so I start with 1 teaspoon and add more if needed).
  6. Boil peas for 45 minutes until peas are soft to the touch. Blend with hand blender to achieve a smooth texture.  Return to a slow boil for another 15-20 minutes until it gets slightly thick.
  7. Turn heat off when you have reached your desired texture.
  8. In a very small pot or pan, heat oil and fry the whole cumin seeds until they become slightly burnt.  Immediately add it to the dhal.

Important: Be careful to cover the pot as you add the fried cumin seeds, as the hot oil will steam out since it is being combined with water based liquid.

Approximate Nutritional Information for 1 Serving (Based on brands and amounts used in the recipe)

  • Calories:132 g
  • Fat: 5.2 g or 2.4 g without 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Carbs: 16 g
  • Protein: 6 g