Creamy curried pumpkin split pea dal by Sophie Gordon

  • Serves 6-8
  • Easy

From her cookbook The Whole Vegetable Sophie Gordon shares her vegan recipe for a pumpkin and split pea dal

Curried pumpkin dal

There are many dishes I could eat more than once in a week, and dal is very high on the list. I like to make it in big batches and serve it with different things each time I have it.

This dal is particularly special, made in the way I’d jotted down after spending time with a local Sri Lankan family, with half of the pumpkin blended to make it even creamier.

I love using yellow split peas, mostly for their texture, and they really enhance the dish, adding a bit more bite and an almost nutty taste.



  • Coconut oil 2 tbsps
  • Black or yellow mustard seeds 1 tbsp
  • A white or brown onion finely chopped
  • Garlic 4 cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • Ginger 2 tbsps, freshly grated
  • Turmeric 1 tbsp, freshly grated
  • A large handful of fresh coriander stems finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • Ground cumin 4 tsp
  • Curry powder (without salt preferred) 2-3 tsp
  • Curry leaves, fresh or dried A small handful
  • Vegetable stock 1.5-2 litres
  • A small pumpkin or squash, raw, any variety, skin on or off
  • Dried yellow split peas 550g, soaked for at least 4 hours
  • Salt and pepper
  • A cinnamon stick
  • Coconut milk 250ml
  • Juice and zest of one lime


  • Step 1

    Put about 1–2 teaspoons of your coconut oil into a large pot over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop – lower the heat when they do
    so and transfer them to a small bowl.

    Heat the rest of the coconut oil in the same pan, then add your onions. Sauté until they start to go translucent and fragrant, about 5–6 minutes on a low heat.

    Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander stalks, dried chilli flakes, ground cumin, curry powder and half your curry leaves. Stir continuously and keep frying until everything becomes nice and fragrant. Put your mustard seeds back into the pan. If it starts to dry up, you can add a dash of your stock to help continue the frying process.

  • Step 2

    Add the pumpkin, split peas, about half the fresh coriander and the rest of the stock to the pot. Stir and bring the mixture up to the boil, seasoning with salt and pepper. Once it reaches the boil, lower the heat to a simmer.

    Add the cinnamon stick and stir again. Cover and cook for about 45–55 minutes, until the split peas are cooked and the pumpkin is tender. Season again to taste.

  • Step 3

    Once cooked, transfer about a quarter of the mix to a blender. You may need it to cool slightly first, depending on your blender type. Add the coconut milk and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour back into the pot and stir, adding the lime juice and zest and seasoning again to taste.

Discover more of Sophie Gordon's recipes in The Whole Vegetable (Penguin Michael Joseph, £25)

The Whole Vegetable recipe book